Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Margaret Marshall LAW ’76 were spotted entering the Yale Center for British Art Sunday evening as guests arrived for the University’s annual dinner for honorary degree recipients.

The University awards honorary degrees as part of the Commencement ceremony, which takes place Monday. Recipients of the degrees are honored at a dinner at the YCBA the evening before. Last year, the nine honorary degree recipients included film director Martin Scorsese and writer Joan Didion.

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Around 5 p.m., New Haven police officers and “downtown ambassadors” patrolled the outside of the YCBA and the sidewalk, and bomb squad dogs checked the building. Officers were overheard saying that a “high-ranking government official” would be arriving. Gates arrived shortly before 6 p.m. Marshall, who is a former Yale Corporation fellow and also chaired the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate last year that examined Yale’s sexual climate, arrived shortly after Gates.

University administrators arriving for the dinner at around the same time included University President Richard Levin, University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer, and Deputy Secretary of the University Martha Highsmith.