Miami Dade College Awarded $500K from Florida Department of State to Restore Freedom Tower

Miami, July 14, 2023 – Miami Dade College (MDC) has been awarded a $500K Cultural Facilities Grant from the Florida Department of State (FLDOS) to support the restoration of the College’s National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, which will reopen with a centennial celebration in 2025.

Donated to MDC in 2005, the Freedom Tower has been carefully cared for by the College for nearly two decades. The Cultural Facilities Grant will help cover current construction and restoration costs, as well as the creation of a new visitor experience.

“We are grateful for the generous support of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Arts and Culture for this momentous project,” said María Carla Chicuén, MDC’s Executive Director of Cultural Affairs. “The renovation of the Freedom Tower will ensure the preservation of this beloved National Historic Landmark for future generations in our community.”

The multiyear capital project will address deferred maintenance, structural repairs and life safety upgrades. MDC will also reimagine the visitor experience spanning 36,700 square feet across four floors to present deeper, broader stories about the history of the Freedom Tower and its role as a beacon of hope, opportunity and courage.

Designed by Schultze & Weaver and built in 1925 as the home of the city’s oldest newspaper, the Miami News, the Freedom Tower became an emblem of the American dream for those seeking freedom and opportunity. From 1962 to 1974, the building served as the Cuban Refugee Assistance Center, providing crucial aid for hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles fleeing political persecution. Following several decades of neglect, the Tower was rescued by Cuban American community leaders seeking to honor Miami’s Cuban legacy and donated to the College in 2005. MDC restored the Freedom Tower and successfully obtained its National Historic Landmark designation in 2008.

“The Freedom Tower is an essential piece of Miami’s rich history and a symbol of freedom and hope for many,” said Dr. Maryam Laguna Borrego, vice president for external affairs and strategy and chief of staff. “As we approach the Tower’s centennial anniversary, we are grateful for this investment to help preserve its legacy for another hundred years.”

About Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College (MDC) is the most diverse institution in the nation, with 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body. The college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer over 300 distinct degree pathways, including associate and baccalaureate degrees, certifications and apprenticeships.  MDC is the recipient of many top national awards, including the prestigious Aspen Prize. The College changes lives through accessible, high-quality teaching and learning experiences. It is home to the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, The Idea Center, the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, two AI Centers, the Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation at the Medical Campus, the Business Innovation & Technology Center, the School for Advanced Studies and New World School of the Arts, among others. MDC has been recognized among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” since the program’s inceptionThe College serves as an economic, cultural and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. MDC alumni and employees contribute more than $3 billion annually to the local economy, and graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry. MDC’s renowned rich cultural programming includes the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, Live Arts Miami at MDC, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, and the Museum of Art and Design.  MDC has admitted more than 2.5 million students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. Approximately 120,000 students are currently enrolled. For more information, visit