University of Rochester

Gates, Martin, Booker Headline Meliora Weekend, Oct. 10–13, 2013

June 4, 2013

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, comedian Demetri Martin, and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker will headline this year's Meliora Weekend at the University of Rochester. This year marks the 13th Meliora Weekend, which combines alumni reunion, homecoming, and family weekends and attracts 7,000 attendees each year for four days of lectures, performances, seminars, and social gatherings. Meliora Weekend is Oct. 10-13, 2013.

Gates, who served in various roles under eight U.S. presidents, will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, Oct. 12. He was appointed defense secretary in 2006 by President George W. Bush, and was asked to remain in office by President Barack Obama, serving until 2011. President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Gates' last day in office.

Before becoming secretary of defense, Gates was president of Texas A&M University and interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.

Gates joined the CIA in 1966 and served as director from 1991- 93. He is the author of the memoir From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War.

He earned a bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary, a master's degree from Indiana University, and a doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University.

Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin to Perform
Comedian Demetri Martin will perform on Friday, Oct. 11. Martin is a former writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and a featured performer on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. He hosted the sketch-variety show Important Things with Demetri Martin from 2009-10 on Comedy Central and is the author of the New York Times' best-seller This Is a Book. Martin has appeared in a number of films and television shows, including Taking Woodstock, Flight of the Conchords, and Contagion.

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Mayor Booker to Speak
Mayor Cory Booker is the featured speaker for members of the George Eastman Circle, the University's leadership giving society. Booker has served as mayor since 2006.

A vocal advocate for social justice, Booker has doubled the amount of affordable housing in Newark, expanded the amount of parks and recreation space, and brought in more than $1 billion in economic development. He has been a vocal advocate for programs to reduce drug dealing and food insecurity and has developed a network of programs and services for the previously incarcerated.

Booker earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford University, was a Rhodes Scholar, and earned a law degree from Yale University.

Lottery and Website Launch
In order to improve access and the registration experience, the University will once again hold an online lottery for Gates' live keynote address. The process will serve to provide better customer service during the live registration period. The lottery will take place in July and is open to the University community. Additional details on how to enter will be available in the coming months. Registration for events begins in late August.

To view a schedule of events, visit the newly redesigned Meliora Weekend web pages at