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Louis Caldera: 1956—: Educational Administrator

Worked Toward Diversity In Army And Universities

Another of Caldera's significant achievements as Secretary of the Army was the launch of a new program that gave a laptop computer to every new recruit; this also enabled them to take online college courses via the newly-created Army University Access Online. Announced in 2000, the six-year, $600 million program of free computers and subsidized education proved a popular recruiting lure, and Army personnel already involved in continuing-education courses through the University of Maryland's satellite facilities asserted that it lessened the bureaucratic hassles involving registration and other administrative procedures considerably.

Caldera was hopeful that the number of Hispanics in the Army would come to reflect their proportions in the U.S. population, which was projected to reach 25 percent by 2050; in 2000, the Army was just seven percent Hispanic, but the secretary was optimistic about recently improved recruiting numbers as well as a higher proportion of West Point cadets of Hispanic heritage. He stepped forward to chastise a survey of Army personnel that found a high percentage of minorities reporting experiences that could be construed as racially offensive during their service. Caldera pointed out that the Army was the most integrated institution in the United States, and said that during his travels to military bases around the world, he spoke often with soldiers stationed overseas in places like Korea and the Balkans. "They tell me that what they see makes them appreciate the blessings of their country," St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Harry Levins quoted him as saying. "Overseas, they see how people who look alike can nurse ancient hatreds and kill each other. Our soldiers demonstrate to those people, just by their actions, that a society can make multiculturalism work."

Caldera proved such a rising star in Washington that his name was even mentioned in a newsletter from a political group, the Democratic Leadership Council, as a possible running mate for Democrat front-runner Al Gore in 2000. With the election of George W. Bush later that year, however, Caldera left his post along with other Clinton appointees, and took a job with the California State University system as its vice chancellor for university advancement. The job entails serving as the university group's liaison to the community in legislative affairs and public development programs; he was also involved in alumni relations and fundraising efforts. Married to attorney Eva Orlebeke, whom he met at Harvard, Caldera is the father of two. Though his credentials—military service plus the business and law degrees from Harvard—would suggest a possibly lucrative post within the private sector or defense industry, Caldera was uninterested in such a career. "If all you think the world is about just me, how quickly can I get my professional degree and start making my high-paying salary and buy a house in a gated community," he told De la Garza in the St. Petersburg Times, "you're going to miss out on what this whole country is about."



Bond Buyer, September 21, 1993, p. 20; March 16, 1994, p. 1.

Business Week, March 22, 1999, p. 11.

Defense Daily, June 30, 1998; June 19, 2000; December 15, 2000.

Fresno Bee, March 27, 1999, p. A5.

Los Angeles Times, February 17, 1999, p. A1; October 1, 1999, p. A1.

National Catholic Reporter, November 17, 2000, p. 8.

National Journal, September 2, 2000, p. 2736.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 9, 1999, p. A4.

St. Petersburg Times, October 3, 2000, p. 1A.

Training, October 2000, p. 35.

U.S. News & World Report, December 7, 1998, p. 11; November 1, 1999, p. 13.

Washington Times, August 31, 1999, p. 1; September 5, 2000, p. 1.

—Carol Brennan

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) BiographyLouis Caldera: 1956—: Educational Administrator Biography - Rose From Cadet To Army Secretary, Emphasized And Improved Education Opportunities In Army, Worked Toward Diversity In Army And Universities