Robert Gates Joins Notable Group As W&M's Chancellor

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, February 6, 2012

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' induction Friday as the new chancellor of the College of William and Mary comes with no pay and no power but makes him part of a lineage that includes giants of American and British history.

More than three centuries ago, when British King William III and Queen Mary II granted a charter to the college, they decreed that one "eminent and discreet" person be chosen to serve a seven-year term as chancellor.

In pre-revolutionary times, 13 English clergymen held the post - all were either the archbishop of Canterbury or bishop of London, according to the college's website.

After Virginia and the other 12 colonies severed ties with England, the college elected George Washington as chancellor in 1788, a year before he became the country's first president.

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