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Born in Anzi, Italy on September 4, 1910, one of 13 children, Judge Celebrezze came to this country at the age of two. He attended public schools in Cleveland, Fenn College and John Carroll University and graduated from Ohio Northern University with LL.B. Degree in 1936. His activities in public affairs began upon his graduation from the College of Law when he joined the Ohio Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.
He entered general practice in 1939.
His political start began its ascendancy in 1950 when he was elected to the Ohio Senate. His able work in this august body resulted in his reelection in 1952 as State Senator, and twice he was voted one of the top senators.
Anthony J. Celebrezze, Sr. was first elected Cleveland's mayor in 1953. His businesslike attention to the city's problems and his money-conscious ways of solving them won the respect of voters. He was the only major in the city's history to be elected to five consecutive terms. In November 1959, he was reelected by a record 73.8% of the votes cast; he won every one of the city's 33 wards.
Judge Celebrezze was elected president of the American Municipal Association (now the National League of Cities) in 1958, and served as president of the U.S. Conferences of Mayors in 1962.
In July of 1962, Celebrezze was appointed to the Cabinet post as secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW). He served in the Cabinets of both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson until August of 1965. During this time, Celebrezze was responsible for enactment of important social legislation, including the Medicare Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One of Celebrezze's most important achievements as secretary of HEW was separating the public assistance and child health and welfare functions from the Social Security Administration and transferring these programs to a new Welfare Administration. Under Celebrezze's watch, HEW was granted power to deny funds for any federal program, to any state, or institutions which practiced racial segregation.
Celebrezze took the oath of office as Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals on September 1, 1965. By Act of Congress, the federal building in Cleveland is named the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building.
Upon retiring from the bench in 1995, Judge Celebrezze donated his judicial papers along with a lifetime of memorabilia to the College of Law. Ohio Northern dedicated the Anthony J. Celebrezze Judicial Archives Room on Saturday, April 17, 2004. The Archive houses papers from Judge Celebrezze's thirty years as a federal judge for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The room also holdes a large collection of photographs, plaques, proclamations, and other tributes.
1910 Born, Anzi, Italy
1936 LL.B., Ohio Northern University
1951-1953 Ohio State Senate
1953-1962 Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio
1963-1965 Secretary, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
1963-1995 Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit