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UVU column: Utah Valley University looks forward to incoming president Astrid S. Tuminez

September 16, 2018

The countdown is almost complete. On Monday, Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez officially assumes her new role as president of Utah Valley University.

In the nearly six months since UVU announced her selection as the university’s seventh president, Tuminez has visited the campus several times while she wrapped up her service as regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft. On her visits, she met with faculty, staff and students, several of whom shared their impressions of her and their wishes of welcome for the next president.

Jeffery E. Olson, who has served as interim president since previous president Matthew S. Holland left the university, said Tuminez was a good fit for UVU.

“She has a remarkable story that exemplifies UVU’s mission, a life transformed through educational opportunity,” Olson said. “She is very committed to UVU’s open-admission, integrated community college and university mission. She could have chosen to be president of any of a number of universities, many with longer histories of academic renown, but she was able to recognize how remarkable UVU is and the extraordinary value of what it is doing.”

Elaine Dalton, chairwoman of UVU’s Board of Trustees, is also looking forward to Tuminez’s service.

“President Tuminez is down-to-earth and has not forgotten her roots. She knows her purpose and her identity,” Dalton said. “She knows the absolute importance of education for women and men and she knows how to lead and make things happen. I’m looking forward to helping her in any way I can. I am so enthusiastic about her vision for the university, and I’m looking forward to supporting her and cheering her on as she leads UVU toward its destiny.”

Fern Caka, UVU chemistry department chair and co-chair of UVU’s Presidential Transition Committee, said she appreciates Tuminez’s example.

“The most important aspect of President Tuminez beginning her UVU presidency is the astounding role model she will be for the women, both old and young, of Utah County,” Caka said. “I look forward to her inspiring a generation of young women. She is a wonderful example that women can be and are leaders.”

UVU faculty senate President Craig Thulin, who served on the search committee to select the new president, said he was looking forward to Tuminez’s enthusiasm.

“Serving on the Presidential Search Committee, one of the most salient messages that we got from the university community was that we should find a new president who would continue all the great things that President Holland had put into motion,” he said. “I am confident that President Tuminez will indeed maintain this successful trajectory. But along with that respect for all that is right with UVU and where it has been headed, she brings additional possibilities that are the basis of additional excitement.”

Tara S. Ivie, senior director of the Women’s Success Center, said she likes Tuminez’s communication skills.

“When I’ve observed President Tuminez as she communicates with students, employees and donors, she is genuinely interested,” Ivie said. “I especially admire that she is personable, listens carefully, is informed, succinct and honest. She brings a comprehensive understanding to UVU, integrating her experiences with student, university, community and philanthropic interests into her leadership and goals for the university.”

UVUSA student body President Marc Reynolds said he was impressed with Tuminez’s love for the students.

“My exposure to President Tuminez has led me to believe she cares about student success and will work tirelessly to ensure that our students are given vital opportunities to be challenged and stretched so we enter the workforce with the same determination that makes President Tuminez such a great leader,” he said.

Shayla Shaw Northcott, UVUSA vice president of student activities, said she was impressed with Tuminez’s story and her personality.

“What impresses me the most is her story,” Northcott said. “It amazes me that she was the bottom of her class when she started school and how she overcame that. I think we can learn a lot from her. The first time I met President Tuminez I liked her instantly. It surprised me how spunky she is. She is very professional, yet she has fun and adds her own personality. I think we are all going to love her.”

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