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President, Miami Dade College
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a refugee at the age of 15. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 170,000 students. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of "The 10 Best College Presidents." In 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him "Floridian of the Year."
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. 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. More recently, he represented the U.S. at UNESCO's World Conference on Higher Education at the invitation of President Barack Obama. 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 Palms Académiques; the Republic of Argentina, which awarded him the Order of San Martin; and Spain's King Juan Carlos II, who bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella.
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.
President Padrón's transformational accomplishments at Miami Dade College have been acknowledged by the national media including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, TIME magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Currently, Padrón's energetic leadership extends to many of the nation's leading organizations. He chairs the board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and is chair-elect of the board of the American Council on Education (ACE). He also serves on the boards of Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Council on Foreign Relations; Business/Higher Education Forum; League for Innovation in the Community College (past Chair); RC 2020; the Collins Center for Public Policy; College Board Advocacy and Policy Center; 2010 White House Fellows Selection Panel (Chair); and the International Association of University Presidents. He has been on the boards of Bank of America and Total Bank, and presently serves on the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, Miami Branch. In past years he has held leadership positions on the boards of the 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 others. Most recently, he has been appointed to the White House/Congressional Commission of the National Museum of the American Latino.
In Florida, Padrón has served on several gubernatorial commissions and has lent his talents to numerous organizations including the Florida Humanities Council; the Florida Council of Presidents (Chair); the Council of 100; Dade-Miami Criminal Justice Council (Chair); Miami Parking Authority (Chair); the Hispanic American League Against Discrimination (Chair); NAACP (Vice-President); and Greater Miami United (Co-Chair).
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. The most recent recognitions include: "2008 Exemplary Award for Improving General Education," Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS); "2008 Chancellor's Best Practice Award for Academic Affairs," Florida Department of Education; "2007 Savior of the Community," New England Board of Higher Education; "2008 Green Cleaning Grand Prize," Green Cleaning Network; "2008 Fourth Best College for Digital Transformation," National Center for Digital Education; and "2008 President George W. Bush's Higher Education Honor Roll" for service to the community.
Padrón is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and prestigious awards. The recent list includes the "2008 Charles Kennedy Equity Award," Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT); "2008 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award," American Council on Education; "2008 Innovator of the Year," League for Innovation in the Community College; Chair Academy for Leadership Development's "2005 Paul A. Elsner Award for International Excellence;" Hispanic Magazine's "2004 Hispanic Achievement Award in Education;" and the Association of Community College Trustee's "2002 Chief Executive of the Year" award. He is a prolific writer with countless publications to his credit and serves on the editorial boards of The Presidency, University Business, and Campus Technology. In addition, he is a guest columnist for Hispanic Magazine and The Miami Herald. He has been featured in People magazine as one of the world's most influential Hispanics, in Hispanic Magazine's list of most powerful Latinos, and in PODER magazine's report on "Movers and Shakers."