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Eduardo José Padrón (born June 26, 1944)[1] is the president of Miami Dade College (MDC). An economist by training, Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. After serving as a faculty member at MDC, he became the school's president in 1995. Time named him one of the ten best college presidents in 2009, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.[2]

Eduardo Padrón
Miami Dade College President Padron Offers Introductory Remarks Before Secretary Kerry Addressed Graduates From Miami Dade College During His Day Trip to the City (26161136840).jpg
President of Miami Dade College
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1944-06-26) June 26, 1944 (age 74)
Santiago, Cuba
Alma materUniversity of Florida


Early lifeEdit

Born in Cuba, Padrón was a teenager when he came to the United States as part of Operation Pedro Pan. The initiative allowed Cuban parents to send their children to the U.S. alone. Padrón did not speak good English when he arrived, and he struggled in a school system that did not yet include bilingual education programs.[3]

After graduating from Miami Senior High School, Padrón attended MDC and earned an undergraduate economics degree from Florida Atlantic University. He attended graduate school at the University of Florida, completing master's and doctoral degrees in economics.[4]

Miami Dade College careerEdit

When Padrón finished his education, he was about to take a job at DuPont, but he was still connected to his old professors at MDC, and they asked him to apply for a faculty position at the school.[5] Since 1995, he has served as the president of MDC. The school enrolls and graduates more black and Hispanic students than any college in the nation.[6]

In 2006, Padrón retired from MDC. He collected $893,286 in lump sum benefits and started receiving retirement pay of $14,631 a month. One month later, Padrón returned to his position at the college and was receiving his annual salary again. This practice, which has been undertaken by a number of Florida public officials, has been criticized by local media sources as "double dipping". Padrón's spokesperson said that college trustees asked Padrón to come back after he had announced his retirement. The spokesperson said that the practice is legal.[7][8][4]

MDC is one of 14 Florida community colleges that can grant bachelor's degrees. Padrón says that the school's curricula focus on degree programs that will directly prepare graduates for the workforce.[9]

Civic leadershipEdit

Padrón is chair of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.[10] He was appointed honorary consul to Morocco in 2016.[11] He chairs the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.[12]


Padrón's individual honors and awards include: 2012 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship;[13] the Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award;[14] and the 2011 TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence.[15]

He is a guest columnist for Hispanic Magazine and the Miami Herald. He has been featured as a prominent Hispanic figure in People magazine, Hispanic Magazine and PODER. In 2009, Time included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.”[16] In 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year.”[4] In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S.[17]

In November 2016, Padrón was announced as one of the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Padrón is divorced. He has a son and two grandchildren.[5]


  1. ^ date & year of birth according to LCNAF CIP data
  2. ^
  3. ^ Adney, Isa (October 8, 2012). "Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Eduardo Padron. College president redefines "community colleges"". Fox News Latino. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Barnett, Cynthia (January 1, 2010). "Eduardo Padron, Floridian of the Year". Florida Trend. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Goodman, Cindy; Morrissey, Siobhan (June 13, 2016). "Thirteen Miami visionaries — and how they've helped transform South Florida". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  6. ^ Gurney, Kyra (November 16, 2016). "Miami Dade College president to receive highest civilian honor from president". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Morgan, Lucy (December 27, 2008). "Double dipping rises despite outrage". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  8. ^ Morgan, Lucy (February 23, 2008). "State: State retiree loophole costs Florida $300M a year". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  9. ^ Lewin, Tamar (May 2, 2009). "Community colleges challenge hierarchy with 4-year degrees". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  10. ^ "Officers and Directors". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  11. ^ Nehamas, Nicholas (January 19, 2016). "Morocco appoints Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón as honorary consul". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics". White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  13. ^ Aspen Institute announces two-generation approach to move families beyond poverty. Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship.
  14. ^ "Carnegie Corporation honors higher ed leaders Freeman A. Hrabowski III and Eduardo J. Padrón". Carnegie Corporation of New York. November 2, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  15. ^ 2012 Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence. TIAA-CREF. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  16. ^ The 10 best college presidents. Time. November 11, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  17. ^ Who are the most influential college leaders?. Washington Post. May 16, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  18. ^ "President Obama names recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom". November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.

External linksEdit