Releasing another memoir, Lauro Cavazos, 10th president of Texas Tech and former secretary of education for the United States, along with the Tech University Press hosted a book signing at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Formby Room of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library.
The book, “A Kineño's Journey: On Family, Learning, and Public Service”, is the second book of Cavazos. In attendance to the event was current President Lawrence Schovanec, who started working at Tech while Cavazos was president during the 1980s.
Before the book signing, Schovanec said Cavazos visited him in his office.
“As I sat there and listened to (Cavazos and his wife Peggy) I really felt that I was in the presence of extraordinary wonderful people,” Schovanec said. “And in some ways I almost felt unworthy to be in that office.”
The book is a follow-up to another one, “A Kineño Remembers: From the King Ranch to the White House,” Courtney Burkholder, director for Tech University Press, said. The first book focused on his professional life, but the newer book focuses on the Cavazos’ family life.
The book provides a holistic view of the Cavazos family and success it has achieved, Burkholder said.
“Co-author, Gene Preuss, wrote an essay that provides important context, establishing Dr. Cavazos as a leader in higher education and American education more generally,” Burkholder said. “Preuss is an associate professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown.”
The book is part of the press’ book series, “The Grover E. Murray Studies for the American Southwest,” she said.
From the first book Cavazos wrote, Preuss said, he expressed interest in writing another one because of all of the topics that went uncovered.
After writing an academic paper on Cavazos, Preuss got the opportunity to meet and talk to him about helping write the second book, Preuss said.
“When I worked with him on this book one of the things he said (was), ‘I’ve got a lot of frustrations, there were some things I wanted to do, I don’t think this accomplished very much,’” Preuss said. “And I was doing some research and I said, ‘Dr. Cavazos, I hate to tell you this but you’re wrong. Some of the things you did had very lasting impacts.’”
He also spoke on the struggles Tech had academically at the time, Preuss said. When Cavazos came to Tech it was not very well off academically, and during this time, the Reagan administration had made many threats to dissolve the Department of Education, which would have heightened the problem.
However, unlike the previous book of Cavazos, this one concentrates more on his marriage with his wife Peggy and family life, he said.
“I wrote it about my time with her, and it’s a lot about what she did there,” Cavazos said. “When you spend 62 years together, you have a lot to write about. You have a lot to say thank you about”
The book also goes into the Cavazos’ 10 children and the time he and his wife spent raising them near Concord, Massachusetts, he said. He talks about his first teacher at a two-room school house in the Santa Gertrudis division of the King Ranch.
“Now look, my life has been very simple. All I’ve done is learn, teach, do a lot of research and administer educational institutions,” Cavazos said. “That’s not a tall order.”