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Juanita Morris Kreps (January 11, 1921 – July 5, 2010) was U.S. Secretary of Commerce from January 23, 1977, until October 31, 1979, under President Jimmy Carter and was the first woman to hold that position, and the fourth woman to hold any cabinet position.
Kreps was born Clara Juanita Morris in Lynch, Kentucky, the daughter of Cenia (née Blair) and Elmer Morris. She graduated from Berea College in 1942 and earned her Master's and Ph.D. in economics at Duke University in 1944 and 1948, respectively. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. A specialist in labor demographics, Dr. Kreps taught at Denison University, Hofstra College, Queens College, and Duke. She rose through the ranks there to become the university's first female vice president. In 1972 she was the first woman director of the New York Stock Exchange.
In May, 1944, Juanita Morris married Clifton H. Kreps, Jr. and they had three children. Clifton Kreps was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for many years. He died August 23, 2000.
Dr. Kreps was awarded the 1976 North Carolina Award for public service and 20 honorary degrees. She sat on the board of 10 major corporations. A collection of Kreps' papers is housed at the Rubenstein Library at Duke University.
Political advisor Anne Wexler, who was serving on President Carter's transition team after his victory in the 1976 presidential election, recommended Kreps for a post in the administration, and Carter appointed Kreps as Secretary of Commerce.
|U.S. Secretary of Commerce|
Served under: Jimmy Carter
January 23, 1977 – October 31, 1979
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