Politicians’ Favorite Community College

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Miami Dade College is apparently the number one destination for Florida poor people, high school dropouts, and, well, U.S. presidents.

According to an article by Lizette Alvarez in the New York Times:

In any graduation season, Yale, Harvard, West Point and the like inevitably make the list of powerhouse commencement ceremonies that attract a revolving door of American presidents in cap and gown. Yet a community college in Miami with no trace of ivy and a policy of accepting just about everyone, even the hard luck cases, has managed to lure a trifecta of commanders in chief to its urban campus.

At Miami Dade College on Friday evening, President Obama delivered the commencement address, joining a roster that includes Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Over the years, Jimmy Carter, the elder President Bush and Gerald R. Ford have stopped in for round-table chats as have an assortment of first ladies, foreign presidents and cabinet members.

Part of the reason Miami Dade can attract such luminaries is that it’s one of the few American community colleges that is nationally famous. With 170,000, Miami Dade is the largest college in the United States.

It’s “a dream factory,” said Eduardo Padron, Miami Dade’s president.

Some 90 percent of students are ethnic minorities, which may be another reason the school attracts major politicians the way it does.

Unlike many other community colleges however, Miami Dade is famous because it doesn’t just enroll a lot of minority students: it ensures that they graduate too. “It graduates more black and Hispanic students than any other college,” according to the article. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer