U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Addresses 3,200 WSU Grads - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Addresses 3,200 WSU Grads

PULLMAN, Wash. - U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressed 3,200 Washington State University graduates at the 2011 commencement ceremony. Gates encouraged students to follow their hearts and consider a career in public service.

"As you graduate today, I encourage you to discover for yourself what it is that drives you, what course or career path engages your head, and your heart, and your passion, and then pursue it with all your energy and commitment," said Gates. But I also ask you to consider spending at least a part of your life in public service. You will have a chance to give back to the community, the state, or the country that have already given you so much."

Gates has dedicated a lifetime to public service. He is the only defense secretary in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president. In fact, President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served.  He also served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and is the only career officer in the CIA's history to rise from entry level employee to director.

"You don't have to be a CIA spy or analyst or Navy SEAL who track down and bring to justice the most notorious terrorist in the world," said Gates. "Whatever the job, working in the public sector at some level offers a chance to serve your fellow citizens."

While Gates told graduates they don't necessarily need to join the military to serve the American people, he did give a special thanks to those who chose to enlist. Gates even read an oath to swear in graduates that will join the military.

Reporter Gaby Fleischman contributed to this report

 

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