Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) to be next speaker in annual speaker series.

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Rapid City, SD – The John T. Vucurevich Foundation will host “An Evening with Robert Gates,” former Secretary of Defense, at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theatre on Thursday, May 17, 2012, at 7:30 P.M.

Dr. Robert M. Gates served as the 22nd Secretary of Defense (2006-2011) and is the only Secretary of Defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in that office by a newly-elected President. President Barack Obama is the eighth president Gates has served. He previously served under President George W. Bush.

On Gates' last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

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

Gates served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989, until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.

Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA's highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

Gates has also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He has also been president of the National Eagle Scout Association.

A native of Kansas, Gates received his bachelor's degree 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. Gates was installed as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary, beginning in February 2012. He is the first William and Mary alumnus in the modern era to serve as Chancellor of the College.

The John T. Vucurevich Foundation awards grants to charitable organizations committed to helping the poor, distressed, under privileged, the advancement of the arts, education & science, and promotion of social welfare in South Dakota with preference given to the West River area and in particular the Black Hills region.

In addition to the Foundation’s philanthropic work, its founder, John Vucurevich, enjoyed bringing foreign dignitaries and others with diverse view points on a multitude of topics to Rapid City. Thus began, “An Evening With…” speaker series in 1993, providing an educational opportunity for the general public. Ticket sales cover only a portion of the cost of this event, the remaining cost is paid for by the John T. Vucurevich Foundation.

Ticket cost is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for students, and can be purchased at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Box Office at 1-800-GOT-MINE, 605-394-4111, the Silverado in Deadwood or Tickets go on sale March 15, 2010 and are limited to 10 tickets per transaction. All seating will be reserved. Cameras, recording and video equipment will be prohibited the night of the performance.

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