Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College Logo
Established 1952
Type College
Endowment $306 million[1]
President Eduardo J. Padrón
Academic staff 6,500[2]
Students 161,668 (2007-08)
Location Miami, Florida, USA
Campus Urban
Former names Dade Junior College
Miami Dade Junior College
Miami Dade Community College
Colors Blue & White          

Miami Dade College, or simply Miami Dade or MDC, is a state college with eight campuses and twenty-one outreach centers located throughout Miami-Dade County, Florida in the United States. It is part of the Florida College System. Miami Dade College is the largest school in the Florida College System and the largest institution of higher education in Florida generally. Miami Dade College's main campus is in Downtown Miami, Florida, named the Wolfson Campus.

Founded in 1959 as Dade County Junior College, it is the largest nonprofit institution of higher learning in the United States with over 161,000 students. It is currently the largest secondary institution in the United States in terms of number of students enrolled.



Miami Dade College was established in 1959 and opened in 1960 as Dade County Junior College. The original campus was located at the recently built Miami Central High School. The campus consisted of a portion of the school and an adjacent farm. In 1960, a facility was built on an old naval air station near Opa-Locka Airport (known as Amelia Earhardt field), which would soon become the College's North Campus.[3] The College enrolled African American students and Cuban exiles who could not afford other schools, becoming Florida's first integrated junior college. As the college grew, a temporary satellite campus opened in what is today Pinecrest at Miami Palmetto High School until the new South Campus (later Kendall Campus) was built in Kendall. Later renamed Miami-Dade Junior College, its two flagship campuses expanded and enrolled more students, eventually outgrowing the University of Florida and Florida State University. After some time, college board of directors' chairman Mitchell Wolfson envisioned a campus at the heart of Downtown Miami, and in 1973, the Wolfson Campus was built. The College changed its name to Miami-Dade Community College around the same time.

The Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami under construction in 1970.

The College initially implemented an open admissions policy, meaning anyone who could afford classes was allowed to enroll. Because of this, the focus of the College became strengthening its academics. As a result, the Medical Center was built near Miami's Civic Center adjacent to the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital to train students in Allied Health and nursing (RN) programs. With the Mariel exile community arriving in 1980, the College created an outreach center in Hialeah to give incoming refugees educational opportunities. Another outreach center, the InterAmerican center, was built to accommodate bilingual education. The Homestead Campus was built in 1990 in Homestead to relieve the concerns of students having to drive to the Kendall Campus.

In the mid-1990s, the College made use of new media and technologies under the direction of president Eduardo Padrón. As the Florida legislature reduced the education budget, the College began to rely heavily on the Miami Dade College Foundation, consisting mainly of Alumni, for financial support. The College also had to figure out new ways of recruiting students, and the College began its "Successful Alumni" campaign in the late 1990s, marketing the success of the College's alumni to local prospective students.

Ethnic enrollment, 2008[4] Percentage
African American 19%
Hispanic 68%
White (non-Hispanic) 9%
Other 4%
Total 100%

Beginning in 2001, the College implemented a strategic plan to revamp the College and its recruiting goals. In 2002, the College disbanded its Honors Program and created The Honors College for talented high school graduates. The Honors College is a representation of Miami Dade College's most academically-gifted students in different fields and was originally based in the three larger campuses (Wolfson, Kendall, and North). In 2007, The Honors College expanded into the InterAmerican Campus with The Honors College Dual Language Honors Program. A vision of president Padrón and leading members of Miami Dade College, the aim of the program is to tailor to the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States as well as abroad. The Dual Language Honors Program opened its doors to bilingual students who wish to continue their careers with professional fluency in the English and Spanish languages.

In 2003, the College was granted the right to award baccalaureate degrees in education to meet future education needs, and currently offers three bachelors degrees. As a result, the College changed its name again from Miami-Dade Community College to Miami Dade College to reflect four year degree possibilities.

Notable Alumni & Attendees

Miami Dade College has produced thousands of alumni over the years. Among the most notable alumni are U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, the former President of Texas A&M University Elsa Murano, the former President of Panama Mireya Moscoso, actor Steven Bauer, the award-winning novelist James Carlos Blake, Major League Baseball outfielder Raúl Ibañez, and former Major League Baseball catcher Mike Piazza.

Present and Future

Construction of a new student union wellness center and food court across from the Downtown Miami campus in March 2011

This College opened the West Campus in the Doral area on March 1, 2006. The Hialeah Center has become a fully accredited campus, with possible future expansions considered critical.

The College also has a virtual college, where a degree can be attained completely over the internet.

The College also hosts the School for Advanced Studies, or SAS, a limited admission opportunity for Miami-Dade Public School students. High school classes are held at Kendall, Wolfson, and North Campus alongside regular college credit courses, and students choose three college classes per semester to take in place of traditional high school electives. College books and tuition is paid for by the county, and there is no cost to students. Bus service is also provided throughout the county to the schools. The goal is to allow students to earn their Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree while earning their high school diploma. SAS is the 15th best high school in the nation, and is repeatedly one of the highest ranking high schools.[5]

Out of approximately 161,000 students, on average, almost 6,000 go on to earn baccalaureate degrees, AA/AS/AAS degrees, vocational, technical and/or college credit certificates. Its student population is as diverse as Miami-Dade County. Associate in Arts transfer students from Miami Dade College go on to transfer primarily to schools within the State University System of Florida, though some do transfer to out-of-state institutions, mainly through articulation agreements made between institutions. Students from its Honors College have been accepted at many prestigious institutions.

The College faces limited funding issues, and is looking for funding so that it can continue to fund current and future baccalaureate programs. Out of Florida's 28 community colleges, Miami Dade ranks among the lowest in receiving state aid. To offset this, Dr. Padrón and other College officials have pushed for legislation that would allow Miami-Dade County to put forth a referendum for a 0.5% increase in Miami-Dade County sales tax. This measure, Dr. Padrón believes, would allow the College to set aside some money into an investment fund for long-term facility maintenance and scholarships for students. He also argues that tourists pay one-third of Miami-Dade's sales tax, and that the proposed tax increase would only be in effect for five years. However, the legislation has not made it through the Florida Legislature.


Miami Dade College operates eight campuses and various outreach centers located throughout Miami-Dade County. The Honors College is currently represented on four campuses, with a new bilingual program (English-Spanish) at the InterAmerican Campus. All campuses have different schools for various disciplines (engineering, business, etc.). Some campuses also operate dual-enrollment programs for high school students. Most campuses also have College Preparatory or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that help students pass the Computerized Placement Test (CPT) that is required for admittance and proves prospective students are qualified to take college-level mathematics and English courses.

The North Campus (11380 NW 27th Ave., Miami FL 33167) has specialized programs that train future firefighters, police officers, and Emergency medical services personnel. It also has a School of Entertainment and Design Technology and has a partnership with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) for engineering programs. The North Campus also operates the Carrie Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center in Liberty City. Recently, the Campus gained the right, by Florida's Board of Governors, to offer a Bachelor in Applied Science degree in Public Safety, housed within the School of Justice.

The Kendall Campus (11011 SW 104th St., Miami FL 33176) serves as the College's Enrollment Office and Disbursing Office. Kendall Campus also houses the College's athletic teams. The Sharks compete at the highest level of the National Junior College Athletic Association and its teams have won various district and state level awards. The College President's office is based here, as well as The Honors College and the Miami Dade College Foundation.

The Wolfson Campus (300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami FL 33132) was opened in 1970 and is the only comprehensive urban campus in the city. Located within the city’s financial, governmental, technological and cultural hubs, Wolfson provides a fully accredited, high-quality education to over 27,000 students each year. Each year, this Campus hosts the Miami Book Fair International, the nation's largest and finest literary festival, which brings hundreds of renowned authors and publishers and over 500,000 spectators to the Campus. The Campus has two art galleries a full-service library, and two state-of-the art computer courtyards. The Wolfson Campus also has strong business and paralegal studies programs (approved by the American Bar Association). As of 2011, a new student union is under construction next to the College/Bayside (Metromover station) on NE 2nd Av and NE 3rd St.

The Medical Center (950 NW 20th St., Miami FL 33127), located in Miami's Medical District near downtown Miami, trains students in the Nursing (BSN/RN) and Allied Health fields, completing the Associate in Applied Science degree that will allow them immediate entry into health professions.

The Homestead Campus (500 College Ter., Homestead FL 33030) contains the College's Aviation program, one of thirteen schools in the nation accredited ATC-CTI (Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Inititiative) status by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The InterAmerican Campus (627 SW 27th Ave., Miami FL 33135) contains the School of Education, where baccalaureate in science degrees are awarded to future educators. The College's first Bachelor of Science (BS) degree recipients graduated in 2005.

The New World School of the Arts (25 NE 2nd St., Miami FL 33132) is both a high school and a college that focuses on visual arts, theatre, dance, and music. Admission requirements include an audition or review of the applicant's art portfolio. The school is regularly ranked among the best high schools.[6]

The Hialeah Campus (1776 W 49th St., Hialeah FL 33012), a former extension of the North Campus, has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and can now award the same degrees as other campuses. Expansion may be under way for the Campus' small facilities.

The West Campus (3800 NW 115th Ave., Doral FL 33178) opened in March 2006 for students residing in or near Doral, for student and faculty convenience. In the past, Doral residents drove to the North Campus, Downtown Miami, or other campuses to attend classes.

The Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Educational Center (6300 NW 7th Ave., Miami FL 33150), also known as the MEEC (pronounced intentionally the same way as Meek's last name) is an outreach center founded in 1989. There are college credit courses available to be taken here, however the focus is on non-credit courses and vocational programs, seminars, and workshops to train people for employment.

Aside from New World School of the Arts and the MEEC, there are nineteen other outreach centers MDC administers.[7]


External links

Coordinates: 25°51′55″N 80°19′06″W / 25.865215°N 80.3183208°W / 25.865215; -80.3183208

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