Meet Madeline Pumariega, the Latina Pioneer of Hispanic Woman of Distinction 2023 and President, Miami-Dade College
“Hispanic women are integral to the fabric of our society and have made indelible contributions to a variety industries. Through their dedication, hard work, and resilience, they have broken down barriers and defied stereotypes, inspiring future generations to pursue their passions with confidence.”
Madeline Pumariega is the first female president appointed to lead one of the nation’s largest educational institutions, Miami Dade College (MDC). Adding to the historic nature of this appointment is the fact that Madeline is an alumna of MDC.
She then received her BA in Political Science and Secondary Education from St. Thomas University; her Master’s in Education at Florida Atlantic University and she is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education from Barry University.
Madeline’s love for academics and service excellence continued during her 20 years of service at the College in positions of ascending responsibility, culminating in her role as Wolfson Campus president. Prior to becoming MDC’s president, Madeline was appointed as the first female and Hispanic chancellor of the Florida College System (FCS).
In that role, she designed and implemented strategies to keep college accessible and affordable for Floridians, especially for those entering high-demand job fields. During her tenure, several of the FCS’s 28 colleges –– which serve 800,000 students –– rose in the rankings of several national measures including “U.S. News & World Report” naming Florida No. 1 in higher education.
In 2019, Madeline became the executive vice president and provost of Tallahassee Community College where her innovative approaches advanced the College’s three core divisions: academic affairs, student affairs and workforce development. She also serves as an affiliate professor of leadership at New York University’s (NYU) Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
Serving the community outside of higher education, she was previously the President and CEO of Take Stock in Children, a statewide nonprofit focused on breaking the cycle of poverty by helping students complete their high school education and advance into post-secondary education and careers.
Madeline also serves as Vice Chair for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, works on the board of the Miami Foundation, the Pace Center for Girls and helps with several other community and professional organizations.
As MDC president, Madeline has championed a new strategic plan for the College and has prioritized working with business partners to identify the skills needed by key industries. Tailoring higher education programs to match those needs enables MDC graduates the ability to enter the workforce immediately.
Her leadership has been recognized by being inducted into the Miami-Dade County Public School Hall of Fame. She was also named in the top 100 most influential women in Florida politics and government by City and State Florida. “Florida Trend” magazine selected her as one of the state’s most influential business leaders adding to just a few of her many accolades.
A Miami native of Cuban descent, Madeline and her daughter, Alyssa, enjoy spending time together with family and friends and vacationing anywhere there’s an ocean.