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UVU president receives society’s 2020 Advocate for Higher Education Award

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Astrid S. Tuminez smiles to the crowd at the public meeting of the board of trustees where she is introduced as the seventh President of Utah Valley University in Orem on Friday, April 20, 2018.

Adam Fondren, Deseret News

OREM — Utah Valley University President Astrid S. Tuminez was honored this week with the Public Relations Society of America’s 2020 Advocate for Higher Education Award. 

The award, bestowed by the organization’s Counselors to Higher Education section, is given to a leader annually who effectively and strategically uses communication and public relations to advance the mission of higher education. As part of the symposium, Tuminez gave the Patrick Jackson Lecture after receiving the award.

“Now more than ever, communication plays a vital role in the overall success of any organization, including higher education institutions,” Tuminez said. “It is about understanding people from diverse backgrounds and connecting and engaging around important causes. I am humbled to have my work and that of Utah Valley University honored in this way.”

Past award recipients include Angel Cabrera, president of George Mason University; G.P. “Bud” Peterson, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology; Freeman A. Hrabowski II, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University; Mary Sue Coleman, former president of the University of Michigan; and Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, among others. 

Before assuming her current position in 2018, Tuminez was a leader in technology and political science, most recently serving as an executive at Microsoft where she led corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia. Tuminez is also the former 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. 

Born into a farming village in the Philippine province of Iloilo, Tuminez moved with her parents and six siblings to the slums of Iloilo City when she was 2 years old, as her parents sought better educational opportunities for their children. 

Her pursuit of education eventually took her to the United States, to Brigham Young University where she graduated summa cum laude in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Russian literature. She earned a master’s degree from Harvard University in Soviet Studies in 1988 and a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in political science in 1996.