Miami, Feb. 2, 2019 – After a unique and brilliant career spanning nearly 50 years, almost a quarter century serving as president, Miami Dade College (MDC) President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón today announced his plans to step down in August 2019. He joined the college as a member of the faculty in 1970 and quickly rose through the faculty and administrative ranks.
President Padrón is an iconic and leading figure in American higher education. His accomplishments are legendary. For decades, he has proven that open access and academic excellence can go hand in hand. He is highly respected for his transformational and innovative leadership and has distinguished himself as a visionary and strategic thinker who inspires excellence in others. As a result, he has forged MDC into a student-centered, teaching-focused and inclusive institution.
Acknowledged nationally as a champion of inclusion and diversity, he has always been a solutions-based, entrepreneurial president. A bold leader with personal humility, he has also led MDC with a deep and abiding commitment to academic freedom, shared appreciation and meaningful collaborations.
Very early in his tenure, he set a course for a comprehensive and lofty vision for the college. In fact, he has been credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. His pace-setting work has been hailed as a model of innovation in higher education, all while engineering a culture of success that has produced impressive results in student access, retention, graduation, and overall achievement.
Under his leadership, MDC has graduated more minorities than any other institution in the United States, including the largest number of Hispanics and African-Americans. Throughout his tenure, Miami Dade College has regularly received national recognition for its longstanding involvement with its urban community, its catalytic effect for social and economic change, and for the marked difference the college has made in student access and success.
Major Awards and Distinctions
- During his career, he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American Presidents
- Awarded U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016), the nation’s highest civilian honor
- Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences
- Ascend Fellow, Aspen Institute
- TIME magazine, one of “The 10 best College Presidents” (2009)
- Florida Trend magazine’s inaugural “Floridian of the Year” (2010)
- The Washington Post, one of the “Eight most Influential College Presidents in the U.S.” (2011)
- Carnegie Corporation “Centennial Academic Leadership Award” (2011)
- Voices for National Services “Citizen Service Award” (2012)
- American Council on Education “Hesburgh Award” (2012)
- S. News & World Report “STEM Hall of Fame” (2015)
- More than 15 honorary doctorates and highest honors from prestigious universities including Princeton, Brown, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Rollins College, Cleveland State University and Lynn University, to name a few
- Has been called upon to serve on numerous national commissions and task forces of leading organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Aspen Institute, Knight Foundation, Century Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and the Marguerite Casey Foundation, to name a few.
- Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques from France
- The Order of San Martin from Argentina
- The Order of Queen Isabella from Spain’s King Juan Carlos II
- The Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award from Spain’s King Felipe VI
- Honorary Consul in Florida of the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016 from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI
- Amicus Poloniae from the Republic of Poland
- President Padrón’s energetic leadership has extended to several of the nation’s leading organizations
- In past years, he has held several national leadership positions, including:
- Chairman, American Council on Education (ACE)
- Chairman, American Association of College & Universities (AAC&U)
- Chairman, Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF)
- Chairman, League for Innovation
- Chairman, White House Commission on Educational Excellence
- Chairman, Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, Miami Branch
- Chairman, Campus Compact
- Chairman, White House Fellows Selection Committee
- Chairman, Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities
Current Board Appointments
- At the present time, he serves on the boards of the following national organizations
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Urban Institute
- Spencer Foundation
- International Association of University Presidents
- Achieving the Dream
- World Strategic Forum (Chairman)
- Concordia Leadership Council
- Locally, Dr. Padrón has served on the boards of many important civic and business organizations, including:
- Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
- Beacon Council
- United Way
- Urban League
- Dade/Miami Criminal Justice Council (Chairman)
- Judicial Nominating Commission
- Miami Parking Authority (Chairman)
Leading the Way in Changemaking and Innovation
- Under Dr. Padrón’s leadership, MDC developed into the largest campus-based institution of higher education in the U.S.
- MDC is the nation’s top producer of associate degrees and graduates more minorities than any other college.
- Under President Padrón’s tenure, MDC has received countless state and national honors.
- Spearheaded the effort statewide to offer workforce-focused baccalaureate degrees at Miami Dade College.
- Launched the nationally renowned Honors College at MDC, lauded by TIME magazine as an ‘Ivy Stepladder.’
- Brought cutting-edge programs to the college typically inaccessible or cost prohibitive to most students such as – the Miami Fashion Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC), the Miami Culinary Institute, the region’s entrepreneurial training hub the Idea Center and the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, to name a few.
- Ushered in an era of tremendous growth and expansion at the college, bringing it even closer to the community with new campuses and state-of-the-art facilities. This includes the creation of the West, InterAmerican and Hialeah Campuses, and the construction of cutting-edge facilities including the Science Complex and Aquatic Center at the North Campus, the Student Support Center Building at Kendall Campus, the Patient Simulation Center at the Medical Campus, and many others.
- During President Padrón’s tenure, the college has also become the owners and/or operators of Miami’s most historic and iconic buildings including the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Dyer Building, the Tower Theater and Koubek Mansion and Gardens. The college is one of the most respected stewards of historic buildings in the nation, refurbishing, programming and making them open and accessible to all.
- Launched the Miami Dade College Alumni Hall of Fame, reengaging high profile alumni and instilling in them great pride for the college for the role it played in their professional development.
- Grew the Miami Dade College Foundation, the college’s alumni relations and fundraising arm, that today has one of the largest endowments among colleges.
- The 2 millionth student was admitted to the college during his tenure as president.
- Created groundbreaking partnerships with the world’s leading companies to bring unique programs and internship opportunities to students. Corporate partners include Facebook, Amazon, Google, Disney, Tesla, Nickelodeon, McKinsey & Company, Alienware, NextEra Energy, Pan Am, Sony, Publix, Cyberbit, Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase & Co. and many others.
- Built the college’s global reputation of excellence regularly attracting world leaders to MDC including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sheryl Sandberg, Sir Richard Branson, Laurene Powell Jobs, Spain’s King Felipe VI, seven U.S. Presidents, numerous members of U.S. Cabinet, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, numerous heads of state, numerous Academy Award winners, Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer winners, Fortune 500 CEOs, and many other thought leaders and disruptors.
- Developed MDC into Greater Miami’s cultural anchor.
- Co-founded and grew the Miami Book Fair, today the nation’s largest and finest literary gathering.
- Acquired and expanded the Miami Film Festival.
- The college’s groundbreaking cultural programs, under President Padrón’s watch, also led to the revitalization of Downtown Miami and were the cultural forerunners to all of today’s cultural fairs and festivals in the region.
An American by choice, Dr. Padrón arrived in the United States as a teenage refugee in 1961. He began his stellar journey at MDC as a fulltime associate professor in 1970 before ascending through the faculty and administrative ranks. He is an alumnus of Miami Dade College and earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida.
“I have been profoundly honored to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees during Dr. Padrón’s tenure,” said Bernie Navarro, chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees. “He has truly left an indelible mark on the college, community and nation with an unparalleled and impeccable career of service with integrity, passion, dignity, humanity, and empathy. My fellow trustees and I wish him nothing but the very best.”
After August, Dr. Padrón will continue serving MDC as President Emeritus and become even more active in important national and community causes.
“I want to express my deepest appreciation to the countless colleagues and students who have helped me and touched my soul during my amazing journey at the college. Without them I would have accomplished nothing,” stated Dr. Padrón. “There is still much work to do and I look forward to serving the college and especially Greater Miami in new capacities.”
* A national search process for the new president will commence immediately.