Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Lauro F. Cavazos Jr. (1989–1991): Secretary of Education

Lauro Fred Cavazos, a sixth generation Texan, was born on January 4, 1927, on the King Ranch in South Texas. He earned his B.A. (1949) and M.A. (1951) in zoology from Texas Tech University, and his Ph.D. in physiology from Iowa State University (1954). Cavazos taught at the Medical College of Virginia (1954-1964) and served as professor of medicine (1964-1980) and dean of the Tufts School of Medicine in Boston (1975-1980). In 1980, Cavazos returned to Texas Tech to become the first Hispanic and first graduate of the school to hold its title of president.

Cavazos served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on national and international health issues during his tenure as a medical professor, and he received the Outstanding Leadership award in the field of education from President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan nominated Cavazos for the post of secretary of education on August 9, 1988, and President George H. W. Bush asked him to continue in that position after the 1988 election. Cavazos resigned as secretary of education in December 1990.