“Here he is at our doorstep and we were able to hear straight from him. That’s not an opportunity many have.”
The former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director may have been specifically talking about national security decisions made during his tenure, but the message was clear and transferrable to the military operations these Mason School students are currently involved in, as well as their future business and command aspirations.
In his introduction of Chancellor Gates, Army Maj. Chad Moniz ’15 called Gates’ impact on the nation meaningful, and emphasized that any guidance and lessons from Gates’ vast experience addressing foreign and domestic issues would be relatable to the very business issues the students are studying. Moniz and several others in attendance are fellows of the Major General James Wright MBA Program, a partnership between William & Mary and the U.S. Army.
The visit became an open conversation with Gates, who insisted on sitting down with the students instead of addressing them lecture style. He pulled up a chair, asked them to introduce themselves and fielded their questions.
The opportunity to sit and speak with Gates made a distinct impression on Army Maj. Carter Deekens ’15, also a MBA Fellow.
“It’s clear how much he cares about the troops, and it’s nice knowing he’s on our side,” Deekens said. “He served under eight presidents and has worked in the government a long time, and here he is at our doorstep and we were able to hear straight from him. That’s not an opportunity many have.”