During his speech at UT’s 129th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates took an aside from the usual inspiration and insight of a graduation speech to address the speculation surrounding President Powers’ job security.
“The best I can wish for all Longhorns is that people like Bill Powers and [former UT-Austin president] Larry Faulkner continue to lead this great university long into the future,” he said to the more than 7,000 graduates.
Gates served as president of Texas A&M from 2002-06, just briefly overlapping with Powers, who took the helm at UT-Austin 10 months prior to Gates’ resignation. But the pair’s interactions seem to have made quite the impression on Gates.
“Let me just say here, before the Longhorn nation, how much I enjoyed working with Bill Powers—one of America’s great university presidents,” Gates said. “You are blessed to have him as your leader.”
Gates is just the latest to throw in his two cents about UT’s 28th president. UT System chancellor Francisco Cigarroa spoke out earlier this month stating that Powers’ job is not, in fact, in jeopardy. Watch the interview here.
Robert Gates. Photo by Marsha Miller.