“My Dinner with Robert Gates” by Katie Connell

Recently I was blessed with the opportunity for an amazing dinner at the Duquesne Club. Dinner consisted of drinks beforehand, multiple courses, and the best crème brulee desert I’ve ever had. Oh yeah, and the former Secretary of Defense in attendance answering any questions we asked. It was an amazing experience not only to be able to dine with Dr. Robert Gates, but to also listen to his speech afterward at Heinz Hall. He spoke the entire dinner, answering all of our questions and giving great detail to each answer. Dr. Gates has numerous achievements, from being the president of Texas A&M University to being the president-elect of the Boy Scouts of America. His most defining attribute is being the first Secretary of Defense to serve under two presidents of different parties. His words on the war in Iraq shed new light on the situation and the decisions made. After his speech, I was able to meet with him and his chief of staff once again. I was fortunate to have a personal conversation with his chief of staff. During this conversation, the topic of veterans came up and my thesis (the reintegration of veterans on college campuses) was then discussed. The chief of staff even offered me further contact information to help assist me in gathering further information for my thesis. Thank you, Robert Morris University and the Honors Program for this incredible opportunity. Image

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