OREM, Utah — Astrid S. Tuminez, who was raised in poverty in the Philippines and went on to earn graduate degrees at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been selected the next president of Utah Valley University, the Deseret News reported.
The Utah State Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday to select Tuminez, regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft, as the university’s seventh president. She is the first woman to hold the position.
Tuminez was a first-generation college student, who along with her six siblings, was raised by their 15-year-old older sister after their mother left when she was 5. She emigrated to the United States in 1982 and later became a U.S. citizen.
“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,” Tuminez told Deseret News.
Tuminez was previously 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. While in those roles she trained more than 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 Corp. of New York. She previously ran the Moscow office of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions.