Cavazos, Lauro 1997-01-25

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Dr. Cavazos discusses his tenure as president of Texas Tech University.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Lauro Cavazos

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: January 25, 1997

Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Interviewer: David Murrah

Length: 1 hour, 55 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Pre-Texas Tech presidency, 1964 moved to Concord, Massachusetts as an anatomy professor at Tufts University, Became dean of medical school, Contacted by Texas Tech regents, Reason for contact--Texas Tech alumni, Education, Attended Texas Tech in 1948, Followed Dr. Cross from Texas A&I, Dr. Cross influenced him to study medicine, Background, Born in 1927 on the King Ranch, Education (again), Started school in 1932 in the King Ranch school house, Segregated elementary schools in Kingsville, Texas, Father pushed for education, Cavazos children admitted to white school, Family, Father committed to their education, Later built home in Kingsville to be closer to the schools, King Ranch, All five children born on the ranch, Description of ranch, Life on the ranch, Highway department built a highway through the ranch, Ranch isolated form rest of the country, Entertainment, Enjoyed reading books, Radio, television and newspapers were unavailable, King Ranch (again), People could get lost on ranch, People illegally hunted on ranch, Family (again), Listing of siblings, All graduated form college, Language, Important for Mexican American families to teach their children English, Parents spoke English and Spanish to the children, Need to prepare children for school, Texas Tech (again), Transferred from Texas A&I as a junior, Followed Dr. Cross, World War II, Served in army from 1945-46, Reflected on lack of intellectual creativity, Texas Tech (again), Experienced prejudice on campus, Few Mexican American students, Numerous veterans attended college, Campus utilized army barracks, Hardly any grass on campus

Tape 1, Side 2: Texas Tech Presidency , Wanted to expand music building, First priority to tear down barracks and mule barn, Medical school, 1949 or 1950 Tech received offer to take over Southwest Medical School in Dallas, Expressed concern about Tech opening a medical school, Search Committee, Contacted by search committee, Cavazos interested in returning to Tech, Set up interviews with Dr. and Mrs. Cavazos, Visited Texas Tech campus with two other candidates, Difficult decision for board, Board of regents, Cavazos expressed his discontent towards several members, Specifically one board member created the most problems

Tape 2, Side 1: Texas Tech Presidency (again), Wanted to narrow focus of the university, Concentrate on Health Sciences Center and improve quality, Devoted half of his time to the medical school, Ex-students not a cohesive group, Cavazos pushed for alumni organizations and involvement in bigger cities, Tenure policy, Too many tenured professors, Capped number of tenured professors for each department, Created faculty senate, Problems, Board of regents created hurdles for him, Cavazos legacy, Texas Tech known nationwide as a research institution, Health center expanded, Expansion of music building, Beautification of campus, Alumni involvement, Improved Tech's relationship with Lubbock, Increased enrollment of minorities, Created major endowments, Worked well with Austin legislature and other universities

Tape 2, Side 2: Disappointments, Tenure issue, Board of regents interference, Physically tiring job, Bigotry still apparent in West Texas, Problems (again), Tech's financial situation a problem, Falling price of oil resulted in less money for Tech, Created funding situation for future, Resignation, Resigned in August 1988, Intended to remain and teach, Received no pressure to resign, Board of regents wanted to reduce presidential power, Cavazos objected

Range Dates: 1927-1988

Bulk Dates: 1948-1988

Access Information

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