Dr. Padron is President Emeritus of Miami Dade College, having served as its president for almost twenty-five years. He is credited with elevating MDC, the largest degree-granting institution in America, into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. Dr. Padron’s work at MDC has been hailed as a model of innovation in higher education.
In 2018, he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2015, he was inducted into the U.S. News & World Report STEM Hall of Fame. 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 2011, the Washington Post named him one of the eight most influential college presidents in the United States, and he was awarded the prestigious 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2010, Florida Trend magazine placed him on the cover of its inaugural “Floridian of the Year” issue. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.”