In 1960, Miami Dade College opened its doors to its first 1,428 students.
Fifty three years later, MDC has admitted its two-millionth student—18-year-old Tatyana Rivera.
Rivera, a 2013 graduate of Coral Reef Senior High School, selected MDC as her one-and-only choice for pursuing her associate in arts degree after hearing nothing but good things about the College from her older brother.
College President Eduardo Padrón called Rivera personally to applaud her and inform her of the $200 textbook voucher she would receive for being the school’s two-millionth student.
“[Padrón] called and congratulated me for first, graduating high school and going into college…then he said ‘I have great news for you…you’re the two-millionth student that got accepted’ and then he told me about the vouchers…and I thought that was it,” she said.
But that wasn’t it.
Soon came the calls and emails from the Miami Herald and other media outlets. Rivera admits it was overwhelming at first, but she soon grew used to the the attention.
“It’s cool because one day I want to be this huge singer,” said Rivera, a pre-medical science major at Kendall Campus. “That’s like one of my dreams. I love anything that has to do with performing.”
If her show business plans don’t work out, Rivera, who had good enough grades in high school to qualify for MDC’s full-tuition American Dream scholarship, plans to continue her education at Florida International University or the University of Miami before pursuing a career as a pediatrician.
“I love working with kids but I don’t have the patience to be a teacher…so I think pediatrician is a good way to go,” she said.
Rene Garcia, MDC’s director of enrollment management, says that the college accepting its two-millionth student speaks to the prestige of the College, which is the nation’s largest institution of higher learning with an undergraduate enrollment of more than 175,000.
“There are two things that benchmark tells us: we probably have been around for a little while, otherwise it would be hard to accumulate that number; but more importantly it speaks to how we are seen in our community,” he said.
Garcia says it is the latter part which makes him most proud, believing that MDC is a cornerstone of the community.
“There is a figure that says like one out of every two or three homes in the county has someone who either attended, or knows someone who attended [MDC],” he said.
“So that speaks to how the community sees the institution as giving everyone an opportunity assuming they are willing to put in the time and effort.”
But as far as being the two-millionth student? Rivera is baffled by the attention it has garnered her because she feels the feat took no effort on her part.
“I don’t get it; people keep saying congratulations, for what? I was the 2 millionth to get accepted and that’s it,” Rivera said. “There’s nothing to it. Don’t congratulate me; I didn’t do anything big.”