Higher education is a public good that should be supported by the government for the benefit of society as a whole, said former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates '65, L.H.D. '98 at William & Mary’s Charter Day ceremony on Feb. 8.
“We will all pay the price for short-changing education, research and other investments in the future,” said Gates, who also serves as the university’s 24th Chancellor. “It will be felt in the decline of America’s quality of life, standards of living and global influence.”
Gates received a standing ovation from the approximately 3,500 who gathered in William & Mary Hall to celebrate the 320th anniversary of the university’s royal charter. The annual event has become a birthday celebration for the university and a chance for the institution to recognize the outstanding contributions of faculty, alumni and students.