CHESAPEAKE, Va (Reuters) - Former defense secretary Robert Gates was named on Tuesday as the next chancellor of the College of William & Mary, the southeastern Virginia school where he received his undergraduate degree in 1965.
Gates, who led the defense department under former president George W. Bush and President Barack Obama before retiring this summer, also holds an honorary doctorate from the college.
He will succeed retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who will complete her term as chancellor in February.
Chancellors of the college typically serve in the honorary post for seven years, participating in major ceremonies and other campus events and meeting periodically with students and other members of the school community.
Gates will be the college's 24th chancellor. Other notable chancellors have included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"The time I spent at William & Mary as an undergraduate student shaped my life, and I look forward to working with the students, staff, faculty and the William & Mary community," Gates said in a statement.
(Reporting by Matthew A. Ward; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton)