Distinguished Leadership Awards

Dr. Robert Gates

Distinguished International Leadership Award

Robert Gates served as Secretary of Defense to President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama from 2006 to 2011. He is the only Secretary of Defense in US history to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected President.

Dr. Gates began his career in public service as an officer in the United States Air Force. He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for a number of years before being appointed Director of the Agency by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. He was a member of the National Security Council staff in four administrations and served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President Bush from 1989 to 1991.

In 1996, Dr. Gates published the memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. Dr. Gates was a member of the Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, in 2006.

In addition to his government service, Dr. Gates has a distinguished record in academia and the private sector. He is Chancellor of the College of William and Mary. Formerly, he served as Dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001, and as President of Texas A&M University from 2002 to 2006. Dr. Gates also served on the board of directors of the Association of Landgrant and Public Universities, and on the executive board of the American Council on Education.

Dr. Gates was Chairman of the independent trustees of the Fidelity Funds, the nation's largest mutual fund company, and served as a member of a number of corporate boards prior to returning to Washington, DC in 2006.

Dr. Gates graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1965, and in 1966 he earned a Master’s degree in history from Indiana University. In 1974, he completed his PhD in Russian and Soviet History at Georgetown University.