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

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

(1927-01-04) January 4, 1927 (age 91)
Kingsville, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peggy Murdock
EducationTexas Tech University, Lubbock (BS, MS)
Iowa State University (PhD)


Early life and educationEdit

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 earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in zoology from Texas Tech University,[2] and a Ph.D. in physiology in 1954 from Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames, Iowa.[3] 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.


From 1975-80, he served as Dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine. From April 15, 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, 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. He is the brother of U.S. Army General Richard E. Cavazos.[4]


In 2006, his alma mater Iowa State University awarded him with the Distinguished Achievement Award, their highest honors.[3]


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

External linksEdit