MORAGA -- Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will give the keynote address at the St. Mary's College commencement May 24, the college announced Monday.
The Monterey native graduated in 1960 from Santa Clara University. He served as an Army officer, congressman and CIA director, among other roles, before he became defense secretary in 2011. He retired in 2013.
"Leon Panetta is an extraordinary public servant and a true American statesman," Saint Mary's President James Donahue said in the announcement. "His high regard for public service is inspiring and we are honored he will address this year's graduating class at Saint Mary's."
About 730 students are expected to graduate this year from the Catholic liberal arts college; it's the largest class in the school's history, according to St. Mary's.
In the announcement, Panetta described the college as "a remarkable academic institution with a commitment to educating students dedicated to improving the lives of others in our society."