HIPGiver: Eduardo Padrón, Miami-Dade College President
Written By: Reavey Fike
Miami-Dade College President Eduardo Padrón credits his success as an internationally recognized leader in higher education to the support he received from others.
“I had very few prospects,” he recalled, after his arrival in the U.S.as a 15-year-old Cuban refugee.
“Great generosity and support opened doors of possibility for me that changed my life,” he said, adding that he wants to give back by making education accessible and valuable for the next generation. “I want to be one of those people who ensures opportunity is available to those who have come after me.”
Eduardo Padrón has served as President of Miami Dade College since 1995, leading innovative reforms to improve student access, retention, graduation, and overall achievement.
“Education is the foundation of a meaningful and contributing life, and I want to give of myself to ensure that this opportunity is available,” Dr. Padrón said.
“I want to do whatever I can to build a culture of opportunity, where each person has a genuine chance to achieve prosperity and dignity,” he added. Indeed, with an enrollment of over 170,000 students, Miami Dade College graduates more minority students than any other institution and is recognized as one of the top institutions of higher education in the country.
Dr. Padrón’s contribution to improving access in higher education has earned him worldwide recognition. During his career, he has been appointed to positions of national prominence by six American presidents, including recently as Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and as a U.S. representative at UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education. In addition to receiving several honorary doctorates and awards in academia, Dr. Padrón has been honored by France as commander in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, with Argentina’s Order of San Martin, and by King Juan Carlos II of Spain, who presented him with the Order of Queen Isabella.
A graduate of Miami Dade College, he went on to earn a bachelor’s summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University, and received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Florida before returning to work his way up at the community college that gave him his start.
“The truest inspiration is communicated by being the change we want to see around us. Small acts of contribution from many people make a huge difference,” he said. “A genuine community is inclusive, sharing the challenges and the opportunities.
“We change the world with small steps, one person at a time.”
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.