Robert M. Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense under Presidents Bush and Obama, will meet with the campus and Dallas communities during a visit to SMU Sept. 27-28, 2011.
Gates will deliver a special Tate Distinguished Lecture presented by Linda and Mitch Hart at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in McFarlin Auditorium. He also will speak with Dallas Independent School District students in the Hart Global Leaders Forum at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.
As the United States’ 22nd Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, Gates warned of the danger of over-reliance on military intervention as an instrument of American foreign policy. He directed the troop surge during the war in Iraq and also directed the beginning of troop withdrawal from Iraq in 2008, a policy that has continued into the Obama administration. In 2009, he became the 14th Cabinet member in history to serve under two presidents of different parties, and the first to do so as Secretary of Defense.
Dr. Gates served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 to 1993 and is the only career officer in CIA history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986-89 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser under President George H.W. Bush from January 1989 to November 1991.
Gates served as the interim dean of the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University from 1999 to 2001 and became the 22nd President of Texas A&M in August 2002, serving until his appointment as Secretary of Defense in 2006.
Dr. Gates has also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He has also been president of the National Eagle Scout Association.
In 2008, Gates was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report. Upon his retirement in 2011, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President Obama.
A native of Kansas, Gates received his B.A. degree in history from The College of William & Mary in Virginia and his M.A. in history from Indiana University. He earned his Ph.D. degree in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. In 1967 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as an intelligence officer at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
On Sept. 6, 2011, Gates was named the 24th chancellor of his alma mater, The College of William & Mary, where he also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 1998. He will succeed former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as chancellor upon the completion of her term in February 2012.
Gates will answer questions from SMU community members and local high school students in the Tate Lecture Series Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP online to ensure a place.
Single tickets are still available for the Tate Lecture. Current SMU students may receive one free admission each with their University IDs by reporting to the McFarlin basement 30 minutes before the lecture begins.