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Whitworth Presents Robert M. Gates, SPR Media Partner

Whitworth University is pleased to announce Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) Robert M. Gates will be the featured speaker at the fall President’s Leadership Forum on Sept. 29, 2021, from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Spokane Convention Center.

Gates has agreed to replace former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who had to cancel her appearance this week due to circumstances unrelated to any personal illness or local COVID-19 concerns. Registration is opened until Sept. 24.

Gates was appointed as secretary of defense by President George W. Bush in 2006 and continued to serve in that role under President Barack Obama until 2011. Gates is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to have been asked to remain in office by a newly elected president. Gates served eight U.S. presidents during his career in public service. He was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by Obama during Gates’ retirement ceremony in 2011. Before becoming secretary of defense, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, the nation’s seventh largest university. Prior to assuming the presidency, he served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001. Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and served nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. He is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to have risen from entry-level employee to director.