Central honors Distinguished Alumnus, Dr. Miguel Cardona ’97

Marisa Nadolny

Central Connecticut State University honored U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona ’97 with one of its top awards and a special gift on Dec. 3.

In his first visit to campus as Education Secretary, Dr. Cardona met with CCSU President Zulma R. Toro, Secretary Cardona and members of the CCSU Latin American Student Organization in Barnard Hall. Secretary Cardona later joined University friends, supporters, and his family in the Community Room at Barnard Hall where the CCSU Alumni Association presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award. The award is presented to Central alumni in recognition of outstanding service to the university or Alumni Association; service to the community since graduation; and for professional excellence in their chosen profession.

"While I am honored to receive the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the true honor goes to those who have shaped my life — my parents, my wife and kids, and my extended family here at Central," Cardona said in his remarks.

"As I humbly serve as our nation’s twelfth Secretary of Education, I can share with pride that I will forever be a Blue Devil," Cardona added.

President Toro presented Secretary Cardona with an original art installation she commissioned upon his appointment as Education Secretary. The artwork — a series of ceramic vessels and wall discs created by CCSU Professor of Art Vicente Garcia — features inspirational phrases in Spanish that Cardona shared in his speech after he was appointed Education Secretary by President Joseph Biden. A complementary installation of Garcia’s work will be installed in Barnard Hall, home of the CCSU School of Education and Professional Services, from which Secretary Cardona graduated.

“Secretary Cardona is living proof that higher education has the potential to change the course of a person’s life for the better,” said President Toro. “At Central, Secretary Cardona discovered a passion for teaching, learning, and education and went on to earn his degree in Elementary Education. It is his genuine interest in our most vulnerable students that has propelled his career in educational leadership.”