Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College
Former names
Dade Junior College
Miami Dade Junior College
Miami Dade Community College
Type College
Established 1959 (1959)
Endowment $306 million[1]
President Eduardo J. Padrón
Academic staff
Students 165,000 (2014–15)
Location Miami, Florida, USA
Campus Urban
Colors Blue & Gray          [3]
Mascot Sharks

Miami Dade College, or simply Miami Dade or MDC, is a state college located in Miami, Florida. Miami Dade has eight campuses and twenty-one outreach centers located throughout Miami-Dade County. Founded in 1959, Miami Dade is the largest college in the Florida College System with over 165,000 students. Additionally, MDC is also the largest institution of higher education in Florida, and the second-largest in the United States. Miami Dade College's main campus, the Wolfson Campus, is in Downtown Miami.


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 Master Field), which would soon become the College's North Campus.[4] 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 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 Miami.

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[5] Percentage
Black 17%
Hispanic (of any race) 71%
non-Hispanic White 7%
Other 5%

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 bachelor's 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. However, it is overwhelmingly a two-year college focused on awarding associate degrees.


Miami Dade College has seven campuses and two centers, with its main campus being the Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami.

Campus Year opened Students Size Location
Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center[6] 1989 2,500+ NA Liberty City
Hialeah Campus[7] 1980
2005 (Official designation)
NA 8 acres Hialeah
Homestead Campus[8] 1990 NA 18 acres Downtown Homestead
InterAmerican Campus[9] 1986
2001 (Official designation)
6,500 4 acres Little Havana, Miami
Kendall Campus[10] 1967 66,500 185 acres Kendall, Miami
MDC-West[11] 2005 NA 10 acres Doral, Miami
Medical Campus[12] 1977 NA 4.3 acres Allapattah, Miami
North Campus[13] 1960 41,000 245 acres Westview, Miami
Wolfson Campus
(Main campus)
1970 27,000 15 acres Downtown Miami

Present and future

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

MDC 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.[15]

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

Out of approximately 161,000 students, on average, almost 6,000 go on to earn baccalaureate degrees, A.A./A.S./A.A.S. 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 an issue of limited funding, and is looking for ways to support 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.

Campuses and Education Centers

Miami Dade College operates seven 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.

Aside from New World School of the Arts and the MEEC, there are nineteen other outreach centers MDC administers.[17]


The school's athletic teams compete in the Southern Conference of the Florida State College Activities Association, a body of the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 8.

Notable alumni and 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, former Major League Baseball catcher Mike Piazza, Cuban artist Agnes Chavez, Hall of Fame professional speaker Randy Gage, and Harvard Law professor and defense attorney Jose Baez. Clarinetist Elizabeth Schubert taught here as adjunct professor of music between 2001-2003.


  1. Endowment Information
  2. "Page Not Found - Miami Dade College". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  3. "MDC Logo Guidelines". Miami Dade College. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  4. "Campuses - Campus Finder". Miami Dade College. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  5. "Fall 2014 Credit-Student Profile". MDC Information. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  6. "Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center - North Campus - Miami Dade College". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  7. "Miami Dade College - Hialeah Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  8. "Homestead Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  9. "InterAmerican Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. "Kendall Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  11. "MDC West - Miami Dade College". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  12. "Medical Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  13. "About North Campus - Miami-Dade College - North Campus". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  14. "Campus Information - Wolfson Campus - Miami Dade College". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  15. America's Top Public High Schools - Newsweek
  16. America's Top Public High Schools - Newsweek
  17. "Outreach Centers". Retrieved 29 May 2015.
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