Former U.S. secretary of defense Robert Gates on Tuesday was named next chancellor of his alma mater the College of William & Mary.
Gates is an undergraduate alumnus of the college, Class of 1965. Gates, who was the first defense secretary in U.S. history to serve under presidents from both political parties, led the defense department under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama before retiring earlier this summer. As William & Mary Chancellor, he will succeed retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who will complete her term in February 2012, according to the college.
Gates said he was "deeply honored to have been asked to return to the College of William & Mary, my alma mater, to serve as chancellor," and he looks forward to doing "all that I can to continue and build on" the school's traditions.
The White House said in a statement that President Obama congratulates Gates on his selection as chancellor of the College of William & Mary.
"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," said Obama.
The College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, was founded in 1693, and is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States behind Harvard University.