Robert M. Gates '65, L.H.D. '98, was re-invested as chancellor at the 2019 Charter Day ceremony, which combined two important moments in the university's history. At the same time, Katherine A. Rowe was inaugurated as the 28th president of William & Mary.
The Board of Visitors unanimously voted in September to reappoint Gates for a seven-year term, beginning July 1, 2019.
The annual Charter Day event celebrates the university's founding by British royal charter in 1693. The 2019 ceremony marked the 326th "birthday" of William & Mary.
Gates was named 24th Chancellor of William & Mary by the Board of Visitors at his initial investiture on February 3, 2012. He succeeded Sandra Day O'Connor, former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who was appointed in 2005.
Chancellor Gates is the first alumnus to hold this position in William & Mary's modern era. As U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, he became the only person in American history to serve under presidents from different political parties. In his words, William & Mary instilled in him "a calling to serve—a sense of duty to community and country that this college has sought to instill in each generation of students for more than 300 years."