Robert M. Gates
A highlight of our celebratory event is our key note speaker, Dr. Robert M. Gates, exclusively represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau. Gates served as the 22nd Secretary of Defense and is the first Secretary of Defense in history to serve Presidents of different parties; President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served. On Gates' last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to director. Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
Gates was installed as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary in February 2012. Gates is the former president of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university.
His memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, was published in 1996.