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Filipina from poor family rises as new president of US university

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The Utah Valley University (UVU) in the United States recently announced the appointment of Dr. Astrid Tuminez, a Filipina, as its new president.

Tuminez, who grew up in a poor community in the Philippines, was selected from a field of international and national candidates to head the publicly funded university starting on the third quarter this year.

Tuminez becomes the seventh president and first woman leader in the university’s history.

“She has proven to be a dynamic leader across academic, non-profit, public policy, and corporate sectors,” said Daniel W. Campbell, chair of the Board of Regents at UVU.

Tuminez holds degrees from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Neither of my parents went to college. My mother had a very hard life… My sister raised me. She was only 15 years old and had to raise six siblings,” Tuminez said during her acceptance speech that was broadcast in social media.

“I was raised in the slums of the Philippines and I was five 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,” Tuminez said.

Tuminez went on to finish high school in Manila and in 1982, she managed to travel to the United States and later acquired a US citizenship.

Tuminez earned a Master’s degree for Soviet Studies at Harvard University and a PhD for Political Science and Government at the Massachuetts Institute of Technology.

Tuminez currently holds the position of regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs at Microsoft Southeast Asia and adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore, Lee Kuwan Yew School of Public Policy.

Tuminez was voted unanimously by a 24-member selection committee at UVU and will succeed Matthew Holland, the school’s president since 2009.

“Out of an impressive field of candidates, Dr. Tuminez rose to the top in the search for the next president to lead UVU. She articulated a clear and compelling vision for UVU, and she understands the value of collaboration within Utah’s system of public colleges and universities,” said David Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education.

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