Lauro Cavazos

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Lauro Cavazos
4th United States Secretary of Education
In office
September 20, 1988 – December 12, 1990
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byWilliam Bennett
Succeeded byLamar Alexander
Personal details
Lauro Fred Cavazos

(1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 94)
Kingsville, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peggy Murdock
EducationTexas Tech University (BS, MS)
Iowa State University (PhD)

Lauro Fred Cavazos Jr. (born January 4, 1927) is an American educator and politician. He served as the United States Secretary of Education, and was the first Hispanic to serve in the United States Cabinet.

Early life and education[edit]

A sixth-generation Texan, he was born on the King Ranch near Kingsville, Texas, where his father served as foreman of the showcase Santa Gertrudis cattle division.[1] He was the son of Lauro F. Cavazos, Sr., and the former Tomasa Quintanilla. Through his maternal ancestry, he is a descendant of Texas Revolution heroine Francita Alavez, the "Angel of Goliad". He is the brother of U.S. Army General Richard E. Cavazos.[2]

He earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in zoology from Texas Tech University,[3] and a Ph.D. in physiology in 1954 from Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa.[4] While in college, he was a member of Kappa Kappa Psi.


Following a stint on the faculties of Tufts University and the Medical College of Virginia, he served as Dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine from 1975 to 1980. From 1980 to 1988, he served as President of Texas Tech University. He was both the first alumnus and the first Hispanic to serve as Texas Tech president.[citation needed]

A Democrat, Cavazos served as Secretary of Education from August 1988 to December 1990 during the Republican Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. He was forced to resign amid an investigation into improper use of frequent flyer miles in December 1990.

Following his resignation as Secretary of Education, he returned to the faculty of Tufts University where he has served as Professor of Public Health and Family Medicine since then. He is married to the former Peggy Ann Murdock. The couple has ten children and currently reside in Boston, Massachusetts.


In 2006, his alma mater Iowa State University awarded him the Distinguished Achievement Award, their highest honors.[4]


  1. ^ "Texas Tech to install president April 15", Canadian Record, Canadian, Texas, February 14, 1980, p. 14
  2. ^ "Bobby Cavazos, son of the King Ranch, Tech all-American, dies at 82". Retrieved 2016-08-21.
  3. ^ University, Texas Tech (1949). "La Ventana, vol. 024". hdl:2346/48689. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Iowa State University alumni, friends to receive top awards April 20". Iowa State University. 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2018-11-21.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Secretary of Education
Succeeded by