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Union banquet to feature Gates

Union banquet to feature Gates

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 6:00 pm

The Messenger 04.11.12

Robert M. Gates, U.S. secretary of defense for two presidents and former president of Texas A&M University, will be the keynote speaker for Union University’s 15th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 4 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson.
Gates served as defense secretary from 2006-11, first for President George W. Bush and then for President Obama. He is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly-elected president.
Prior to his role leading the Defense Department, Gates was Texas A&M president for four years. He served in the Central Intelligence Agency for nearly 27 years, including nine at the National Security Council. He was CIA director from 1991-93.
“As we think about the challenges across the world today in Iran, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea and elsewhere, it will be a profound experience to have someone with us who has dealt with and planned for responses to these challenges and conflicts on a daily basis,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “It will also be fascinating to have a person who will be able to share with us out of the rich experience of years in key leadership roles, including his service as secretary of defense for more than five years in two different administrations.
“Moreover, it will be helpful for all aspects of the Union constituency to hear from a person who has led one of the country’s great public universities, who has served in government and who also has been a leader in the private sector. For all of us, it will truly be a genuine privilege to host Secretary Robert Gates for Union University’s annual Scholarship Banquet in the fall of 2012.”
Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal and the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal and has three times received CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.
He is the author of the memoir “From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.”
A native of Kansas, Gates earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, his master’s degree in history from Indiana University and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. He was recently installed as chancellor of the College of William and Mary.
The annual Scholarship Banquet has become one of the premier events in West Tennessee and is Union’s primary fund raising event for its student scholarship fund. The banquets have generated over $5 million.
This year’s lead and premier sponsors include BancorpSouth, Keith and Beverly Absher, Roy and Martha White, First Bank, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, West Tennessee Healthcare, Northwestern Mutual/Rod and Amy Parker, Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf, Thad and Alicia Smotherman, Lloyd and Martha Hansen, Impact 360/John and Trudy “Cathy” White, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Harry and Beth Smith, Robert and Jane Alderson, Norm and Dale Hill and David and Lanese Dockery.
Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels. For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.

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