On Monday, July 5, the Commerce Department lost a member of its extended family with the passing of former Secretary Juanita M. Kreps. After growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining town, she went on to a distinguished career as a professor, author and public servant. When President Carter appointed her Commerce Secretary, Kreps became the first woman to serve in the position and just the fourth female Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Her leadership under difficult economic conditions and her intelligence and devotion to family are remembered by many. I extend my sincere condolences to her family.
Dr. Kreps was the first woman and the only economist to serve as secretary; she was vice president of Duke University and a labor demographics specialist. She served as Secretary of Commerce from January 23, 1977 - October 31, 1979.