Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served in various roles under eight U.S. presidents, will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, October 12. He was appointed defense secretary in 2006 by President George W. Bush, and was asked to remain in office by President Obama, serving until 2011. President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Gates’ last day in office.

Before becoming secretary of defense, Gates was president of Texas A&M University and interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and served as director from 1991 until 1993. He is the author of the memoir From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.

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