Board of Trustees
Helen Aguirre Ferré
Helen Aguirre Ferré (Chair) is an award-winning, bilingual journalist who maneuvers through various media platforms to deliver the news and analysis in print and broadcast media. At Univision Radio she co-hosts “Prohibido Callarse,” the highly rated daily political talk show, specializing in news, commentary and analysis. Aguirre Ferré is a political analyst for Univision Network’s “Destino 2012,” covering the national political election cycle on national newscasts. For the English-language audience, she is known for moderating the weekly WPBT2 public affairs series Issues, reaching audiences from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. In print, Aguirre Ferré is the Opinion Page Editor and weekly columnist at Florida’s oldest independent Spanish-language newspaper, Diario Las Americas, and contributes to UnivisionNews.tumblr.com. Aside from her career in journalism, Aguirre Ferré is passionate about providing access in education to students of all ages and backgrounds. She is the first woman to chair the Board of Trustees of Miami Dade College, the largest community college in the country, and serves on the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges in the United States.
Additionally, Aguirre Ferré is a member of the Florida Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, a national member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Community Television Foundation of South Florida, a member of the Inter-American Institute for Democracy, and an advisory board member of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the Angels of Mercy, Mercy Hospital, The Mater Center and the American Nicaraguan Foundation.
Read more about the Chair of the Board.
Armando J. Bucelo Jr.
Armando J. Bucelo Jr. is an attorney in private practice. His firm, the Law Offices of Armando J. Bucelo, Jr., has been based in the Coral Gables area since 1982. For over fifteen years, he has served as Special Counsel to the Code Enforcement Board of the City of Miami, Special Advisor to the City of Miami, Trustee for the Cuban-American National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Committeeman for the Republican Party. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Co-Chairman/Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, one of the administration’s highest appointments made to a Hispanic. He was also appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Housing Development Corporation, one of the most prestigious national institutions dealing with affordable housing. Under former President George Bush, he was the first Hispanic and first Floridian selected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). He has been involved in a myriad of community activities, including the Board of Directors of the YMCA International, the American Red Cross, as past President of the Downtown Miami Business Association, and as past President of the Cuban-American Bar Association. He has been honored as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics on numerous occasions and has received proclamations from the U.S. House and Senate, the Florida House and Senate, and the cities of Coral Gables, Miami, Hialeah, West Miami, Sweetwater, and Miami-Dade County. Trustee Bucelo earned his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami and is an alumnus of Miami Dade College.
Marielena A. Villamil
Marielena A. Villamil is the President, COO, and co-founder of the Washington Economics Group (WEG), an economic, financial and educational consulting firm. She has led this well-respected organization since 1994 and has been an esteemed contributor to the South Florida community. She serves as commissioner for the Third District Court of Appeals, a position appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001. Prior to joining WEG, she worked for 17 years as a Professor and Associate Dean at Miami Dade College. She has significant experience in governmental relations and in the education and training of multicultural and multilingual workforces. In 2005, Senator Mel Martinez appointed her to serve on the regional board of the Military Academy Nominations Selection Committee, and she became the first recipient of the Dr. Mario Villarroell International Leadership Award from the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and the Keys, where she is a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Latin America and Caribbean Leadership Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English from St. Mary’s Dominican College and a Master of Arts in Spanish from Middlebury College.
Benjamin León III
Benjamin León III is president and COO of Leon Medical Centers, a managed healthcare system offering superior comprehensive services to the residents of Miami-Dade County. Trustee León has served at the helm of the organization since 1996, guiding the delivery of primary care, outpatient services and various specialty services to Medicare members. He began his career as a customer service representative for Clínica Cubana, which his family opened in the 1960s to satisfy the healthcare needs of South Florida’s growing Hispanic population. León serves on the board of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce (CAMACOL) and is involved in numerous charitable causes, such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Trustee León holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from St. Thomas University.
Marili Cancio is an attorney specializing in transactional matters involving corporate, international, real estate, trademarks, and financial affairs. She is the managing partner of Cancio Johnson & Echarte PL. Previously, she served as a shareholder at Fowler White Burnett PA and senior counsel at Holland & Knight LLP. The daughter of Cuban exiles, Cancio is very involved in the community. She has served as chair of the Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board Miami-Dade County, as a member of the Community Relations Board of Miami-Dade County, trustee of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, member of Orange County’s Women’s and Minority’s Business Certification Board, member of the Republican Executive Committee for Miami-Dade County, member of the Florida Federation of Republican Women and in other important organizations. In addition, she has served as Pro Bono Counsel for La Liga Contra el Cancer and as a past member of other charity boards and committees. Cancio was born in Miami Beach, but moved to Brazil as a young child attending Portuguese-speaking schools and graduating from high school in Rio de Janeiro. Marili moved back to the U.S. to attend Arizona State University. She later completed her bachelor’s degree at Eastern College in Pennsylvania. She also completed classes at Miami Dade College. She obtained her law degree from Temple University. She most enjoys spending time with her family traveling, boating and playing tennis. She is married, has two adult children and a granddaughter.
Jose K. Fuentes
Jose K. Fuentes is the principal for The Fuentes Rodriguez Consulting Group, a governmental affairs advisory firm representing both private and public sector clients on issues ranging from capital projects funding to the development of legislative affairs strategies. Community involvement is a top priority for Mr. Fuentes. As part of his civic and community endeavors, he presently serves on the executive board of United HomeCare Services; as an advisory member of the Miami-Dade County DERM Wetlands Advisory Task Force; and is a board member of City Year Miami. Additionally, he volunteers at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as a member of its Legislative Policy Council and serves as the political outreach chair of its Governmental Affairs Group. He is also a member of the City of Miami Waterfront Advisory Board; the Mayors International Council (City of Miami); and the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Advisory Task Force, where he is the chairman of the Sub Committee on Transportation & Greenhouse Gas. Prior to founding The Fuentes Rodriguez Consulting Group, he served as director of the South Florida Water Management District’s Miami-Dade Regional Office; assistant to United States Senator Connie Mack; director of the Office of the Speaker of the Florida House Representatives; legislative assistant to State Senator Rudy Garcia; and governmental/public affairs liaison for the Board of County Commissioners of Broward County. Trustee Fuentes is a proud Miami Dade College alumnus and earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University.
Armando J. Olivera
Armando J. Olivera is the chief executive officer and president of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and one of the largest investor-owned electric utilities in the nation. He was appointed to his current position in 2003 and has served FPL for nearly four decades. As CEO and president of FPL, Trustee Olivera has managed a multiyear, multibillion dollar capital investment program that includes expansion of nuclear capacity, a new natural gas, combined-cycle power plant that is the most efficient of its kind in the nation, and three new solar energy centers that have made Florida No. 2 in the nation in solar power. Prior to being named to his current role, he was senior vice president of FPL’s power systems business unit. Trustee Olivera is also a director of AGL Resources Inc., a member of the board and a past chairman of the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council, as well as a member of the board of Enterprise Florida and the Florida Council of 100. Trustee Olivera is a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and he holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami.
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón
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 174,000 students. 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, 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.” 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 2011 Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award. In 2012, he received the Citizen Service Award from Voices for National Service, the coveted TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence, and the Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship. Dr. Padrón’s energetic leadership extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the immediate 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). He also serves on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences' Commission on the Humanities & Social Sciences.
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. In 1993, President Bill Clinton recognized him as one of America’s foremost educators. President George W. Bush nominated him to the National Institute for Literacy Advisory Board and the National Economic Summit. More recently, he represented the U.S. at UNESCO’s World Conference on Higher Education at the invitation of the Obama administration and President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. During his career he has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American presidents.
Read more about the College President.