Each of our BSA National Presidents has played an important role in shaping the future of Scouting. As his term comes to an end, I want to thank former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Dr. Robert M. Gates for his steadfast service to our movement during the past two years.
Under his leadership, Dr. Gates helped position Scouting to better deliver the fun, values-based, character-building experiences that Scouting offers and he never let us forget our mission.
Stepping up at a difficult time in our Scouting family’s history, Dr. Gates protected the BSA’s core values in the face of social, political and judicial changes in our country. He brought tremendous vision and passion to unite our organization and allow Scouting to continue to focus on providing extraordinary service to America’s young people.
Dr. Gates has a long history of service and participation with the Boy Scouts. His many accolades include Distinguished Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, former president of the National Eagle Scout Association, past National Executive Board member and Silver Buffalo Award recipient — quite a list of achievements.
He embodies our spirit of service through his affiliations with other organizations. In addition to Scouting, Dr. Gates is the chancellor of the College of William and Mary and has served on the board of directors and executive committee of the American Council on Education and the board of directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. He previously served as President of Texas A&M University.
During his remarkable career, which began in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Gates has personified the Scout Oath’s promise of duty to country. He served eight U.S. presidents of both political parties — most recently holding the title of U.S. Secretary of Defense. He also spent 27 years with the Central Intelligence Agency and is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director.
It is his rich experience as a civil servant, father and Scout that has made him a decisive leader in our organization and enabled him to enhance our ability to deliver a Scouting program of the highest quality that remains relevant to today’s youth. One of the greatest parts of my career in Scouting has been the incredible caliber of people who have given of their time to give me leadership, counsel and advice. The opportunity to learn from, and be inspired by, Dr. Robert Gates certainly was a once in a lifetime experience.
I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the chance to work with one of our Nations’ most dedicated patriots. His commitment and leadership to Scouting, truly, now enables us to grow and become a force for good for the next generation of America’s youth.
Dr. Gates, I have appreciated your guidance and for your unwavering leadership. I wish you, your wife, kids and grandkids all the best as you enter into a new phase of your life.
I look forward to building on the momentum you helped us create as we continue to grow our movement.