A Filipina who was raised in the slums in the Philippines has been hailed as Utah Valley University’s (UVU) new president, the first female to hold the post in the university’s history.
The Utah Board of Regents unanimously voted to select Astrid S. Tuminez, regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft, to be the university’s seventh president. She is also the first female to hold the position in UVU’s history, reported Deseret News.
According to UVU’s website, Tuminez will assume her new position this coming fall.
As stated on their website, Utah Valley University, with more than 37,000 students, is the largest public university in the state of Utah and one of a few in the nation offering a dual-mission model that combines the rigor and richness of a first-rate teaching university with the openness and vocational programs of a community college.
Daniel W. Campbell, chair of the Board of Regents, was quoted praising the Filipina by saying, “Dr. Tuminez has proven to be a dynamic leader across academic, nonprofit, public policy, and corporate sectors. Throughout her storied career, she has focused on bridging gaps in education and opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, which seamlessly aligns with UVU’s institutional mission and core themes.”
“Dr. Tuminez’s experience, vision, and dedication to student success will ensure that UVU continues to thrive in the years ahead,” Campbell added.
Tuminez will be succeeding Matthew S. Holland, who served as president since 2009.
Before she became UVU’s president, Tuminez was the Vice Dean of Research and Assistant Dean of Executive Education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
She also worked as a senior consultant to the US Institute of Peace, Director of Research at AIG Global Investment, and program officer at the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
According to reports, Tuminez has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
But what is more impressive about her story was that Tuminez was born into poverty and was raised in the slums in the Philippines.
She was raised by her 15-year-old sister after their mother left them. According to her, education was the main factor that helped her change her life.
“I was raised in the slums of the Philippines and I was 5 years old when Catholic nuns offered me and my siblings a chance to go to school. So that changed the entire trajectory of my life, and that’s what makes it so exciting for me to be in a university like UVU,” The Deseret News quoted Tuminez.
“This is a university that believes in the innate dreams and capacities of people and to build on that, to help each person make their own way but give them the skills and competencies so their chances of succeeding in life and having a good life are a bit better,” she added.
She moved to the United States in 1982 and later became a U.S. citizen.
Photo credits: The Salt Lake Tribune