Former Defense Chief Robert Gates Takes College Post

Gates becomes College of William & Mary chancellor

Students at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. might think twice before submitting phony absence excuses: former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be keeping watch over campus next year and HE SEES EVERYTHING.


The college announced this week that Gates has taken the job of chancellor, succeeding former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who will complete her term in February 2012.

President Obama released a statement shortly after the announcement, lauding his former military aide:

"I'm confident that Bob will bring to this new role the same sense of duty and personal integrity that I and other presidents valued during his distinguished career in government. As he did at Texas A&M and the Department of Defense, Bob will again help lead an institution devoted to our nation's most precious resource -- our young men and women."

Gates is an alumnus of William & Mary. He received a bachelor's degree in history in 1965 and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the college in 1998.
"The time I spent at William & Mary as an undergraduate student shaped my life and I look forward to working with the students, staff, faculty and the William & Mary community." said Gates in a statement. "It is a privilege to follow such outstanding leaders as Sandra Day O’Connor, Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher.”

George Washington, former President John Tyler and former Chief Justice Warren Burger are also among the luminaries who have served as chancellor.

The post of chancellor at William & Mary dates back to a 1693 Royal Charter from King William III and Queen Mary II. Before the revolutionary war, the chancellor was usually Archbishop of Canterbury or the Bishop of London and served as the College’s advocate to the crown while the colonial president oversaw the daily activities of the Williamsburg campus.

The College's chancellors typically serve a term of seven years, participating in major events and meeting periodically with students and faculty.

Gates will be the 24th chancellor and the first William & Mary alumnus in the modern era to hold the chancellorship, according to a William & Mary spokesperson.

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