Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be the next chancellor of the College of William and Mary, the college announced Tuesday.
Gates will be the first William and Mary alumnus to hold the honorary post in the modern era. He graduated in 1965.
He will succeed retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who will complete her term in February. Gates will be formally invested during the college’s spring commencement exercises in May.
He will be the 24th person to hold the position, which dates back to William and Mary’s founding by royal charter in 1693. Until the American Revolution, the chancellor was an Englishman, usually either the archbishop of Canterbury or the bishop of London. The first American chancellor was George Washington, who held the post simultaneously with the presidency.