OREM, Utah – It was a historic day for Utah Valley University as they welcomed their first female President Astrid S. Tuminez.
Fox 13 News caught up with Tuminez on her first day of the job.
Called from the boardroom of Microsoft as the Regional Director of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs for Southeast Asia to the halls of Utah Valley University, Tuminez is ready to assume her new role.
“The key to the University was transferred to me. I say I have new superpowers," she said.
Raised in the slums of the Philippines, she credits Catholic nuns for giving her superpowers at an early age – the opportunity to attend school for free.
“It was education that completely changed the trajectory of my life,” said Tuminez.
Her educational pursuits are impressive. She studied Russian Lit and International Relations at BYU. She got her masters at Harvard in Soviet Studies and obtained a Ph.D. in political science and government from MIT.
“I am inheriting a strong institution, an innovative and inclusive institution. And a fearless institution,” said Tuminez.
With more than 37,000 students, 38 percent of them who are first-generation students, and over 70 percent who work, Tuminez sees her own journey in these students.
“We say to them, 'come as you are. We will work with you. We will support you.'”
Tuminez plans to carry on Matthew Holland’s tradition to provide affordable, accessible and quality education.
“I'm coming here to add to it, what I know personally as a women leader. And what I know geographically having lived and worked in five different countries," she said.
Students are eager to see what she brings to the table.
“I think it's really empowering to have a woman as our president. Its a real good opportunity for us to try new things,” said Ofeira Peteia, a UVU Student.
“I'm kinda excited to see what kind of change is going to happen,” said Calvin Lao, a UVU student.
A quote President Tuminez lives by is:
"Nothing can stop you from dreaming, to believe in what is possible. Whatever the hurdles and challenges are - that's the culture I`d like UVU to have."