Juanita M. Kreps

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Juanita M. Kreps

Juanita Morris Kreps (born January 11, 1921 in Lynch , Harlan County , Kentucky , † July 5, 2010 in Durham , North Carolina ) was an American economist and politician who was a member of the cabinet of US President Jimmy Carter as Secretary of Commerce .


Kreps graduated from Berea College in 1942 before enrolling at Duke University in North Carolina . There she graduated in 1944 as a Master and in 1948 as a Ph.D. in economics and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic community .

As a specialist in work demographic studies, she was subsequently a lecturer at Denison University in Ohio , Hofstra College on Long Island , Queens College in New York City and finally again at Duke University. There she rose within the hierarchy and ultimately became the first woman to hold the post of vice-president of this university. She later also became the first female board member of the New York Stock Exchange .

In 1976 Juanita Kreps received the North Carolina Award . She received the state's highest honor for her public service work and her 20 honorary doctorates. After the Democrats won the presidential election in the same year, the new President Jimmy Carter appointed her to his cabinet as Secretary of Commerce . She was the first woman to hold this office, and remained there from January 23, 1977 to October 31, 1979. In 1988 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .

Juanita Kreps had been married to Clifton H. Kreps, a professor at the University of North Carolina , since 1944 , who died in August 2000. She was the mother of three children.

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