Miami Dade College Homepage > MDC in the News

Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón Named Ascend Fellow by the Aspen Institute


Miami, February 22, 2012 - The Aspen Institute has named Miami Dade College (MDC) President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón to the inaugural class of its Ascend Fellowship program, one of a select group of 20 leaders from across the country who are pioneering two-generation approaches to move families beyond poverty. 

“Ascend Fellows are exceptional leaders from government, philanthropy, research, non-profits, the media and private sector,” said Anne Mosle, Ascend Executive Director. “Each one will pursue cutting-edge work that illustrates two-generation strategies in their various fields.” 

“Eduardo Padron’s leadership position at Miami Dade College provides incredible opportunity to design two-generation approaches at significant scale,” Mosle continued. “I am honored that Eduardo will be a part of the Ascend network of leaders in two-generation strategies to build a legacy of educational success and economic security.”

Ascend was launched in 2011 with support from national foundations and women philanthropists, and is a hub for breakthrough ideas and proven strategies that move parents and children – two generations – toward economic security together. Educational success is central to its work. The Ascend Fellows will work to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty through public, private, and nonprofit sector innovation and collaboration; state-of-the-art research; public engagement; and different market-based and philanthropic models.

Fellows will receive scholarships to support participation and execute action plans to pursue two-generation approaches. They will be eligible to apply for grants from an Innovation Fund that Ascend is developing to support such work.

The announcement of the fellowship program coincides with the release of an Aspen Institute report, “Two Generations, One Future.” The report makes the case for focusing on educational success for parents and their children together as a promising way to move families out of poverty.

“A two-generation approach can be a game-changer for families with low incomes,” Mosle said. “We are seeing promising results from programs and policies around the country that promote education and skills for parents and provide quality early-learning opportunities for their children. We believe a focus on education, economic supports and social capital, the core components of the two-generation approach, can lead to economic security for families.”

Dr. Padrón’s has served as president of Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest institution of higher education, since 1995. His energetic leadership also extends to many of the nation’s leading organizations. He is the chair of the prestigious American Council on Education and immediate past chair of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He also serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve; Council on Foreign Relations and the Business/Higher Education Forum among other major national organizations. During his career, he has also been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American Presidents, most recently as chair of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans by President Obama. Padrón was also recently named one of TIME magazine’s “10 Best College Presidents,” one of the eight most “influential college leaders” in the U.S. in the Washington Post and the “Floridian of the Year” by Florida Trend magazine.

President Padrón is the recipient of dozens of major awards during his four decade career including the “2008 Charles Kennedy Equity Award” from the Association of Community College Trustees; the “2008 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award” of American Council on Education; the “2008 Innovator of the Year” from the League for Innovation; the “2005 Paul A. Elsner Award for International Excellence” from the Chair Academy; and others. Most recently, he was awarded the “2011 Centennial Academic Leadership Award” from the Carnegie Corporation and “2012 National Citizen Service Award” from Voices for National Service.

Internationally, President Padrón’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous nations and organizations including the Republic of France, which named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palms Académiques; the Republic of Argentina, which awarded him the Order of San Martin; and Spain’s King Juan Carlos II, who bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella.

Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 174,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of associate in arts and science degrees. The college’s seven campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film, engineering and others. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs have served as national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

The Aspen Institute’s Ascend program is a hub for breakthrough ideas and proven strategies that more parents, especially women, and their children beyond poverty towards educational success and economic security. For more information, please visit

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, please visit

For more information, please visit


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or genetic information.
Contact the Office of Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, ADA and Title IX Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for assistance.