An American by choice, Eduardo J. Padrón arrived in the United States as a teenage refugee in 1961. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest campus based institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being a national voice for access and inclusion. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, President 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.” In 2010, Florida Trend magazine named him “Floridian of the Year.” 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 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. More recently, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship and the Hesburgh Award. President Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the past chair of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF). He serves on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Achieving the Dream, Inc. He has been appointed to key national posts by six American Presidents. He is a prolific writer and has received more than 15 honorary doctorates.