Miami, May 15, 2018 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón will receive the Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award from the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. The award will be presented during the 96th annual gala at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 2, at Lowes Miami Beach Hotel.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized with this award from one of our community’s great organizations,” said President Padrón. “Accolades like this motivate all of us at MDC to keep working harder to make quality higher education accessible to all. It is an award I accept on behalf of all the faculty, staff and students at MDC.”
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 2018, he was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of America’s oldest and most prestigious organizations. 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. 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). During his career, he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents.
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. Under Dr. Padrón’s leadership, Miami Dade College has received national recognition for its longstanding involvement with its urban community, its catalytic effect for social and economic change, and the marked difference the College has made in student access and success through pace-setting initiatives.
He currently serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Urban Institute; RC 2020; the International Association of University Presidents; and Achieving the Dream. In past years he has held leadership positions on the boards of the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, Miami Branch (past Chair); the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (Chair); the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the White House Commission on Educational Excellence; Campus Compact; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; The College Board; and the White House/Congressional Commission of the National Museum of the American Latino.
He is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and prestigious awards.
The Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose exceptional lifetime contributions of community leadership and philanthropic endeavors have improved the quality of life of Miami Beach citizens. As Executive Director of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Leonard A. “Doc” Baker’s professional career spanned for more than 35 years. In addition to his years of dedicated service to Miami Beach’s business community, Doc Baker worked tirelessly for the Kiwanis Club of Miami Beach on a local, state and national level. Doc’s accomplishments embody the criteria and raise the standards used in selecting recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. It takes decades of tireless dedication and devotion to leave the indelible footprints of a civic legacy. These achievements will be measured forever by the recipient’s vision, leadership and philanthropic commitment on behalf of the citizens of Miami Beach.