Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Lauro F. Cavazos (1988–1989): Secretary of Education

Lauro Fred Cavazos was born in 1927 in Kingsville, Texas. After entering the military at the end of World War II, he returned to the United States and attended Texas Agricultural and Industrial College. He went on to Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) where he earned a bachelor’s in zoology in 1949 and a master’s in zoological cytology in 1951. Cavazos then headed to Iowa State University where he earned his Ph.D. in physiology in 1954.

By 1964, Cavazos was a full professor of anatomy at Tufts University School of Medicine, and, from 1975 to 1980, he served as dean of the School of Medicine. While at Tufts (1964-1980), Cavazos also taught at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Texas Tech University.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan tapped Cavazos to become his secretary of education following the resignation of William J. Bennett. Cavazos remained as secretary during the first two years of President George H.W. Bush’s administration, leaving in 1990 at the President’s request. Currently, Lauro Fred Cavazos is a professor of family medicine and community health at Tufts University School of Medicine.