Campus News

U.S. Secretary of Defense to speak at fall Commencement

U.S. Secretary of Defense to speak at fall Commencement

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will be the speaker for fall undergraduate Commencement exercises Dec. 18 at 9:30 a.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

Dorinda Dallmeyer, former associate director of UGA’s Dean Rusk Center–International, Comparative and Graduate Legal Studies and director of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, will speak at Commencement for graduate students at 2:30 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

The ceremonies will be for students who complete degree requirements at the end of the fall 2009 semester. Tickets will be ­required for attendance at the undergraduate ceremony, with six being provided to each graduating student. Both ceremonies will be broadcast live on channel 15 of the university and Charter cable systems and will be streamed live at

Gates was sworn in on Dec. 18, 2006, as the 22nd secretary of defense. He is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly elected president. Before
entering his present post, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, the nation’s seventh largest university. He assumed the Texas A&M presidency on Aug. 1, 2002, and from 1999 to 2001 he served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

“It is a tremendous honor for a speaker of such national prominence, and one who holds a position of significant national importance at this time in America’s history, to accept the invitation to speak at UGA’s graduation,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “I have known Bob Gates for many years and consider him both a close colleague and good friend. I very much look forward to his address in December.”

Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional, serving six presidents. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council in the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.

A native of Kansas, Gates received his bachelor’s degree in European history from the College of William and Mary, his master’s degree in history from Indiana University and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. In 1967, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as an intelligence officer at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

A native of Macon, Dallmeyer began her college career at UGA where she ­received a B.S. degree in geology magna cum laude, with general honors, and with honors in geology in 1973. She was a National Merit Scholar and was named the outstanding senior in geology. She also twirled with the Redcoat Band as a member of the Fabulous Georgettes from 1970-1975.

In 1977, Dallmeyer received an M.S. degree in geology.  Her research was on the effects of climate change on deep-sea benthic organisms. She then worked with UGA professor James W. Porter for more than three years, conducting research in tropical marine biology and ecology in Jamaica and off the Georgia coast. Her coral reef research culminated with a week-long saturation dive in the underwater habitat HYDROLAB in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To pursue her interest in conservation law and policy, Dallmeyer returned to the classroom in 1981, this time at the UGA School of Law. She received her J.D. degree cum laude in 1984. She then joined the staff of the Dean Rusk Center for International Law, which is part of the law school. Over the course of her 21-year career there, her primary research areas crossed a broad spectrum of international law, with an emphasis on negotiation and dispute resolution.

Dallmeyer retired from full-time employment in 2005 to devote more time to her creative writing and to direct UGA’s Environmental Ethics Certificate Program in the College of Environment and Design.