EDUARDO J. PADRÓN
Miami Dade College (FL)
2012 Recipient of the John E. Roueche NISOD International Leadership Award
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 174,000 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.” In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is 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).
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 the Obama administration and President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. During his career he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents.
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.
He currently also serves on the boards of the Business/Higher Education Forum; the Council on Foreign Relations; League for Innovation in the Community College (past Chair); RC 2020; College Board Advocacy and Policy Center; White House Fellows Selection Panel (Chair); the International Association of University Presidents; and the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta, Miami Branch. Dr. Padrón also serves as chairman of the White House Commision on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. In past years he has held leadership positions on the boards of 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 others. Most recently, he has been appointed to the White House/Congressional Commission of the National Museum of the American Latino.
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.
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.”
Check out the past recipients.