1 of 3 | Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and U.S. President Barack Obama participate in Gates' Armed Forces Farewell Ceremony on the Pentagon River Parade Field in Arlington, Virginia, on June 30, 2011. Former CIA Director Leon E. Panetta will become the 23rd Secretary of Defense, replacing Gates on July 1. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is returning to his alma mater, the College of William & Mary to serve as chancellor, the college said Tuesday.
Gates, who received his undergraduate degree in 1965, served as defense secretary under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama before retiring this summer.
At William & Mary, he will succeed retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose tenure ends in February.
"I am deeply honored to have been asked to return to the College of William & Mary, my alma mater, to serve as chancellor," Gates said in a college news release. "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."
Gates, who had served as president of Texas A&M University from 2002 to 2006, becomes William & Mary's 24th chancellor.
"It is absolutely wonderful to welcome Secretary Gates back to campus in this new role,"said Taylor Reveley, the college's president. "He is an extraordinary example of what it means to devote a lifetime to making a difference for the better for your country."
U.S. President Barack Obama, in a statement, congratulated Gates.
"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," Obama said.
Gates earned his master's degree in history from Indiana University and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.