From 1995 until 2019, Eduardo Padron served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest degree granting institution of higher education in America. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. He is the past 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) and former chair of the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF). During his career, he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by five American presidents.
The Republic of France named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques; the Republic of Argentina awarded him the Order of San Martin; Spain’s King Juan Carlos II bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella; Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia presented him with the Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award; Morocco's King Mohammed VI appointed him Honorary Consul in Florida of the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016, and the Amicus Poloniae from the Republic of Poland.
He is credited with engineering a culture of success at Miami Dade College 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. Under Eduardo’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.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of America's oldest and most prestigious organizations. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine placed him on the cover of its inaugural “Floridian of the Year” issue. In 2011, The Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. Also in 2011, he was awarded the prestigious 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2012, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the coveted TIAA Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. In 2015, he was inducted into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Hall of Fame.