450th Commissioner: Eduardo Padron

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” and in 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year”.

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 the immediate 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. During his career he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents. President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

Internationally, President Padrón’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous nations and organizations including 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.

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).

Congress established the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 and charged it with ensuring a suitable national observance of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary by complementing the programs and activities of the State of Florida and the City of St. Augustine. The members were appointed by U. S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar after considering the recommendations of the Mayor of St. Augustine, the St. Augustine City Commission, and the Chancellor of the University System of Florida, the Governor of Florida, and the Florida delegation in Congress.

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