Gates Bids Farewell to Texas A&M

Newly selected Secretary of Defense and Texas A&M President Robert Gates released this statement Thursday:

To the Aggie Family:

The United States Senate yesterday voted to confirm me as the 22nd
Secretary of Defense. I will be sworn in and take office on December
18th, and will resign as the 22nd President of Texas A&M that same day.

And so it is final. My last official act as President will be to
preside at the commencement ceremonies on December 15-16.

You already know that I am leaving this incredible University
reluctantly and with a heavy heart. By the same token, Aggies - more
than anyone else - understand why I must do so.

Our University is in good hands and on an upward course. All the major
initiatives - expanding the faculty, new undergraduate degree programs,
greater diversity, more than half a billion dollars in new construction
- 90% of it for academic facilities, and unprecedented involvement of
faculty, staff and students in decision-making - are on track, taking us
to new heights of academic excellence. It is now also evident that our
athletic program is on track to reach a new level of national

As the end of my service as President draws near, please know that: for the rest of my life I will always be an Aggie. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, as long as I live I will bleed Maroon.

A final request to all in the Texas A&M family. Never forget who we are
and where we came from. Never forget the Aggie Code of Honor. And
never forget the obligations of duty and honor and country.

God bless all of you, God bless Texas A&M, and God bless America.

Gig 'em Aggies.

Until we meet again.

Robert M. Gates
Texas A&M University