Astrid S. Tuminez
Astrid S. Tuminez was named the seventh president of Utah Valley University by the Utah State Board of Regents on April 20, 2018. She is the first female president in the university’s history. She is the fourth woman to led one of the state’s eight colleges and universities that comprise the Utah System of Higher Education. The three others are: University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins; Noelle E. Cockett, president of Utah State University; and Deneece G. Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College.
She was selected unanimously from a pool of 41 national and international applicants. At the time of her appointment she was serving as Regional Director for Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft.
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, where she trained over 2,000 government officials and private-sector professionals in leadership and organizational change. Her previous positions include senior consultant to the U.S. Institute of Peace, Director of Research at AIG Global Investment, and program officer at Carnegie Corporation of New York. She previously ran the Moscow office of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions. In 2013, she was named a Top 100 Global Influencer by the Filipina Women’s Network of the United States.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian and international relations from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in Soviet Studies from Harvard University, and a doctoral degree in political science and government from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Tuminez was born in a small island village in the Iloilo province of the Philippines. She and her older siblings received a scholarship at the age of five, when their mother left them, to attend a private school run by Catholic nuns. She came to the United States at the age of 18 on a student visa and she studied at BYU. She later became a US citizen. She is fluent in English, Russian, French, Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), and Tagalog, and has a working knowledge of Spanish.
She told the Deseret News that being selected as president of a university “is in some ways overwhelming, but my life was completely transformed by education.” She continued:
- 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.
- 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 and her husband have three children. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.