Astrid S. Tuminez will be Utah Valley University’s first female president.
“I know that UVU is an amazing community, the students that I met with yesterday inspired me,” said Tuminez, who was announced as UVU’s seventh president Friday. “They asked some tough questions. They are dynamic, inspired; they want to change the world.”
Tuminez is Microsoft’s regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia, according to a news release from the school.
She was the vice dean of research and the assistant dean of executive education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. She has consulted the U.S. Institute of Peace, has been the director of research at AIG Global Investment Corp. and has worked at Carnegie Corp. of New York. Her career also took her to Moscow, where she oversaw an office of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions.
“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,” Daniel W. Campbell, chairman of the state’s Board of Regents, said after during Friday’s announcement. “Dr. Tuminez’s experience, vision, and dedication to student success will ensure that UVU continues to thrive in the years ahead.”
Neither of her parents went to college, Tuminez said, and her sister began raising six siblings when she was 15 years old.
Tuminez earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a UVU news release.
She was among four finalists to replace Matthew S. Holland as president of Utah’s largest university.
Holland, 50, announced in November that he would retire in June to serve as president of a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after nine years at the school.
Holland’s father, Jeffrey R. Holland, was president of Brigham Young University when Tuminez attended the university. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986.
“I think I saw you as a young man on campus,” she said, laughing.
Before Tuminez’s nomination was announced, Holland’s wife, Paige, received a standing ovation for her contribution to the university.
“It’s going to be hard to see the two of you go,” Campbell said as the applause died down. “We appreciate you.”
Tuminez will start her new job in the fall.
“She articulated a clear and compelling vision for UVU,” said Utah Commissioner of Higher Education David Buhler after Tuminez was nominated by the state Board of Regents, “and she understands the value of collaboration within Utah’s system of public colleges and universities.”
Tuminez praised the university’s “highly qualified” faculty.
“I know that the staff are very, very hardworking,” she said, “and maybe a little overworked.”
She told Holland that she would “honor what you’ve built and build on it.”
“President Holland and Paige Holland, I’d like you to know I’ll never be able to fill your shoes, ever,” Tuminez said. “I don’t know what size shoe you wear.”