One week after receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor, Miami Dade College President Eduardo Padrón was surprised with $2.25 million in gifts to support faculty and students.
On Tuesday at a private breakfast for members of the MDC Alumni Hall of Fame, Miami-based foundations and businesses presented Padrón with gifts for the Miami Dade College Foundation, which funds student scholarships and educational programs.
The Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation gave $1 million to establish the Eduardo J. Padrón Innovation Fund to support MDC faculty “in the delivery of highly interactive and innovative education programs,” according to a statement from the college. Badia Spices gave another $1 million to create a student scholarship named in honor of Padrón, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation gave $250,000 for the Innovation Fund.
“President Padrón has made enormous contributions to Miami Dade College and to South Florida over the years, making MDC a national model for access and inclusion in education,” said Louis Wolfson, III, trustee of The Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Foundation, in a statement. “The College continues to innovate, and we are delighted to establish a fund in his honor to enhance our education programs and create more change makers for our community.”
Padrón was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on Nov. 22, along with 20 other national figures including Michael Jordan, Tom Hanks and Bill and Melinda Gates. Padrón was honored for his leadership of MDC, the nation’s largest and most diverse undergraduate institution, as well as for his national advocacy for expanding access to higher education.