MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A major honor tonight for the outgoing president of Miami-Dade College.
Dr. Eduardo Padron is stepping down after 50 years as an educator and college leader. But even after he steps down his name will live on at the school.
It was a celebratory mood at Miami-Dade College as administrators, alumni and local elected officials gathered for a renaming and re-dedication ceremony.
"I'm not sure I can handle all this," said Padron.
The man of the hour, Dr. Padron, who is stepping down as president in August. The board of trustees is seeing him away by renaming the Inter-American Campus in Little Havana which Padron helped create back in the 1970s. It is now the Eduardo J. Padron Campus, the nation's largest bi-lingual higher education center.
"This moment is very humbling and moving for me the emotions that I feel are hard to put into words," Padron said.
Padron has spent his professional life at the college, starting as a professor in 1970 and serving as president for a quarter century.
Along the way, he's received countless tributes including a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. Padron proudly accepting the honor while never forgetting he came to the US from Cuba, alone at the age of 15.
"It's a day when we commemorate the legacy of a great man he has transformed this community and lives of so many people in the city and county," said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
"He transformed this institution and helped hundreds of thousands of residents of Miami owe their success to Miami-Dade College," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Padron led Miami-Dade to national recognition, but he believes his greatest achievement was to make a college education, and all the benefits it brings, a reality for everyone.
"It's really the most democratic institution. An opportunity and it's a way to get the key to a better life."
Under Padron's leadership, Miami-Dade graduated more minority students than any other institution of higher learning in the country.
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