Eduardo Padrón is one of the foremost authorities in education of the United States, and his personal story embodies the success of the Cuban community in this country during the last half-century.
He arrived in Miami when he was 15, during the so-called Operation Pedro Pan, a plan that allowed the exodus of more than 10,000 Cuban children to the United States after Fidel Castro came to power. The minors were scattered among orphanages and families throughout the country, an episode that proved traumatic for many of them. Padrón, who has a Ph.D. in Economics, has been in charge since 1995 of the Miami Dade College, the biggest higher education institution in the United States, and the awards and honors that he has accumulated throughout his life are enough to fill several curricula vitae. In 2013, King Felipe, who at the time was Prince of Asturias, presented him with the Juan Ponce de León Award for his stalwart defense of the Hispanic legacy in the USA, an effort that continues to be a part of his day-to-day work. He has worked side by side with several US presidents –Democrats as well as Republicans—who have entrusted him with several missions in order to improve the quality of education in a country that has an enormous cultural diversity and that is in an incessant process of social transformation. Bill Clinton honored him for his work, George W. Bush appointed him to an advisory committee, and Barack Obama handpicked him to lead the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
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