Dr. Robert M. Gates is the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former Director of Central Intelligence. He is currently the Chancellor of the College of William & Mary, and serves as the 35th national president of the Boy Scouts of America.
During his notable career, Gates has served eight U.S. presidents of both political parties. He is the only secretary of defense to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president. Prior to his post at the Department of Defense, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, the nation’s fifth-largest university. Gates also served as director of central intelligence and is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director.
Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal and the Presidential Citizens Medal, has twice received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received the CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. On his last day in office as secretary of defense, Gates was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Obama.
Gates has served on the board of directors and executive committee of the American Council on Education and the board of directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
A native of Kansas, Gates received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, his master’s degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.