Thursday, November 09, 2006

Odd Finding Regarding Dr. Robert Gates

In searching for the A&M President’s pay I stumbled across this and thought it interesting to share. Just over a year ago Robert said the following:

In sum, it’s been another year of dramatic change – and, I believe, improvement – in every area at Texas A&M as all parts of the University drive toward a higher level of excellence. As some of you know, my role in this process at A&M nearly ended early in the year with a call from Washington, D.C. On January 6, 2005, Andy Card, President Bush’s Chief of Staff (and an old friend), called to see if I would be willing to become the Director of National Intelligence – the “intelligence czar” created by Congress in 2004. I told him that I did not want to leave A&M and did not want to return to Washington. Still, I felt duty-bound to give the request serious consideration. For the next 17 days, including several hours at the White House on the Monday before Inauguration Day, I wrestled with this decision. On Sunday, January 23rd, I decided that if I might be able to help make America safer in a dangerous time, then I must, and therefore had to accept the position – and leave A&M.

That evening, I wrote out what I would say at the traditional introductory press conference in Washington with the President. A press conference I expected would take place within a few days. I also wrote an e-mail to all Aggies explaining my decision, to be issued in College Station at the same time the press conference began. The last sentence of that e-mail read: “For now, though, I only wanted you to know that this appointment was due to no initiative of mine, that the decision was wrenching, and that I can hardly bear the idea of leaving Aggieland.”

I then went for a late night walk around campus. Through the Quad, by the Evans Library, past Sbisa and around the Northside dorms, back by the YMCA building, and finally to Academic Plaza and the statue of Sul Ross. I sat down on a bench there, as thoughts raced through my mind of Ross and Rudder, of Silver Taps and Muster, of the Corps, of the incredible students and faculty and staff here, and of all that is underway to make A&M greater. I realized, sitting there alone in the dark, brushing away tears, how much I had come to love Texas A&M, all it stands for, and all it can become. And I knew at that moment I could not leave.

I called Andy Card at Camp David at 8:00 the next morning, and told him I had to tell the President no.

I have not regretted that decision. Washington, D.C. is my past; Texas A&M is my present and my future (at least for a while). There is no position or opportunity for me now more significant than President of Texas A&M University. And none I would trade it for.

Except the Defense Department Chief's job!

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