Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón has been selected to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in higher education and making it accessible and inclusive, the White House announced Wednesday.
Padrón is credited with strengthening Miami Dade College and raising its national status. The college enrolls and graduates more minority students than any other institution in the United States, according to a statement issued by Amando Bucelo, chairman of Miami Dade College's board of trustees.
"During his more than four decades career, President Padrón has been one of the most effective national voices for access and inclusion," Bucelo said in his statement.
Padrón is an economist who received his doctorate from the University of Florida. He has served as chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and he represented the U.S. at UNESCO's World Conference on Higher Education at the invitation of Obama's administration.
"The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor - it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "From scientists, philanthropists and public servants to activists, athletes and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way."