Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine presented the key to the City of Miami Beach to Miami Dade College’s (MDC) President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized with this distinction,” said MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “MDC is committed to prepare students to succeed in an evolving and competitive workforce, and in an educational system that is accessible, inclusive and affordable to all.”
“Miami Beach has always held a special place in my heart. From my very early days in this country, it was my regular escape, where I enjoyed the architecture, the people and 25-cent movies. Today, the Beach is a major city in our nation, much more than a tourist destination, and we hope to one day expand our services to its residents. Thank you, Mayor Levine and city officials, for this recognition,” added President Padrón.
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a teenage refugee in 1961. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine placed him on the cover of its inaugural “Floridian of the Year” issue. In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Also in 2011, he was awarded the prestigious 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2012, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the coveted TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. In 2015, he was inducted into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Hall of Fame. I Dr. Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the past chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) and is a past chair of the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and former chair of the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF). He also served on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences.
President Padrón is widely recognized as one of the top educational leaders in the world and is often invited to participate in educational policy forums in the United States and abroad. During his career, he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents. In 1993, President Bill Clinton recognized him as one of America’s foremost educators. President George W. Bush nominated him to the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board and the National Economic Summit. More recently, he represented the U.S. at UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education at the invitation of the Obama administration, and President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Internationally, President Padrón’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous nations and organizations including the Republic of France, which named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques; the Republic of Argentina, which awarded him the Order of San Martin; Spain’s King Juan Carlos II, who bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella; Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia, who presented him with the Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award; and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, who appointed him Honorary Consul in Florida of the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016.
Dr. Padrón’s pace-setting work at Miami Dade College has been hailed as a model of innovation in higher education. He is credited with engineering a culture of success that has produced impressive results in student access, retention, graduation, and overall achievement. MDC enrolls and graduates more minorities than any other institution in the United States, including the largest numbers of Hispanics and African-Americans. He is nationally respected for his advocacy on behalf of underserved populations in higher education, and his in-depth research report, “A Deficit of Understanding,” highlights the funding crisis that threatens access for low-income and minority students. Dr. Padrón has also championed innovative teaching and learning strategies and developed support initiatives to ensure student success. He was a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Greater Expectations national panel that re-examined baccalaureate education in the U.S. and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Commission on the High School Senior Year. More recently he has been called upon to co-chair the Century’s Foundation’s Task Force on Preventing Community Colleges from Becoming Separate and Unequal. He also served on the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment; CFR Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security; National Governors Association’s Advisory Group for College Completion Initiatives; and ACE Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement.
President Padrón’s transformational accomplishments at Miami Dade College have been acknowledged by the national media including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, TIME magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Univision, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.