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MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón Awarded Juan Ponce de León 500th Anniversary Award by Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias


Miami, November 19, 2013 - Their Royal Highnesses, Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia, presented Miami Dade College (MDC) President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón the prestigious Juan Ponce de León 500th Anniversary Award Nov. 18, 2013, for his special contributions to the preservation of the Hispanic heritage in Florida and the United States at a dinner commemorating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida.

“I am honored and deeply grateful for this recognition,” said Dr. Padrón. “It is a privilege to work at Miami Dade College, where we strive to preserve and foster our Hispanic legacy and all cultures and diversity. This is really the College’s award, and I accept it on behalf of all our students.”

The award was instituted by the Spain-Florida Foundation 500 Years, a private, nonprofit organization, to highlight the importance of Hispanics’ contributions to American history and to honor the spirit of perseverance of the Sixteenth Century Spanish explorers.

“Dr. Padrón has been a model of the virtues represented in this award: an outstanding contribution to the development of the Spanish heritage in Florida,” said the Prince of Asturias.

Members of the Spain-Florida Foundation 500 Years unanimously agreed to grant President Padrón the Ponce de León award for representing the values and spirit of the perseverance of the Spanish legacy in the United States and for his outstanding contribution in education advocacy.

Since 1995, President Padrón has presided over the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 175,000 students, awarding more degrees to Hispanics than any other. He 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. President Padrón has been selected to serve on posts of national prominence by six American presidents. Most recently, President Obama appointed him Chairman of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. He has received numerous recognitions in his more than four decades in higher education leadership including being hailed as one of the 10 Best College Presidents in the nation by TIME magazine; one of the eight most influential college presidents in the U.S. in The Washington Post; one of the world’s most influential Hispanics in People magazine; the Carnegie Corporation Centennial Academic Leadership Award and many others. Internationally his awards include the Order of Queen Isabella bestowed by Their Royal Majesties of Spain; France’s Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and Argentina’s Order of San Martin. He also serves on dozens of important national boards. 

The award, by Spanish artist Cristobal Gabarrón, is an original sculpture created especially for this occasion.

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
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist

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