Miami Dade College President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the White House.
Watch the recorded event:
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
President Padrón will be recognized alongside 20 other individuals, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Ellen, Michael Jordan, Margaret H. Hamilton, Frank Gehry and Tom Hanks.
During his more than four-decade career, President Padrón has been one of the most effective national voices for access and inclusion. He has created a culture of success at Miami Dade College while elevating it to a position of international prominence. Throughout his career, he has worked tirelessly to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education, producing impressive results in student access, retention and overall achievement.
As a result of his efforts, today MDC enrolls and graduates more minority students than any other institution in the United States. He has championed innovative teaching and learning strategies, making MDC a national model of excellence while preparing students for the 21st century global knowledge economy.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom was established by President John F. Kennedy, by executive order, in 1963. Some past recipients include civil and human rights leaders Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Desmond Tutu; environmentalist Jacques-Yves Cousteau; astronaut Neil Armstrong; scientists Jonas Salk and Stephen Hawking; entertainers and media personalities Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and Walter Cronkite; author Maya Angelou; world leaders and public service leaders Shimon Peres, Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor and Henry Kissinger; and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, among others.