News & Events


UWHEN Announces Presidential Sponsor Transition

The UWHEN Leadership Conference is a highlight for many women in higher education across the state. It was a discouraging time when we chose to cancel the 2020 event; we look forward with enthusiasm to learning from each other, renewing and forging connections, and recognizing achievements.

At the Conference, we recognize our Presidential Sponsor and ceremonially transition to the new Presidential Sponsor at the end of the term. In addition to 2020 marking UWHEN’s 10th anniversary, it also is a transition year for our Presidential Sponsorship. While we cannot recognize President Biff Williams (Dixie State University) in person, we nonetheless want to acknowledge his contributions and express our sincere appreciation.

President Richard B. (Biff) Williams is the eighteenth president of Dixie State University. He has served as the UWHEN Presidential Sponsor for three years. From the beginning, President Williams showed enthusiasm, commitment, and advocacy for our organizational success. During his tenure, Dixie State University has hosted the annual leadership conference and developed a vibrant local UWHEN chapter on the campus. President Williams has participated at our Annual Leadership Conference by presenting and serving on panels and starting an ongoing fill-the-bus competition with President Deneece Huftalin (Salt Lake Community College and former UWHEN Presidential Sponsor) to encourage and promote the annual Leadership Conference regardless of its location.

Serving as a mentor to UWHEN Board Chairs, President Williams generously gave of his time and wisdom. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank President Williams for his mentorship, advocacy, and support for UWHEN. His energy and willingness to actively engage in our annual leadership conferences are especially appreciated,” said Mary Anne Berzins, UWHEN Board Chair. Thank you, President Williams, for your dedication to the UWHEN mission to advance women in higher education! 

We are also pleased to announce our next Presidential Sponsor is President Astrid Tuminez of Utah Valley University. President Astrid Tuminez is the seventh president of Utah Valley University and the institution’s first female president. She brings to UVU a broad and rich experience in academia, philanthropy, technology, and business. Born in a farming village in the Philippine province of Iloilo, President Tuminez moved with her parents and six siblings to the slums of Iloilo City when she was two years old, her parents seeking better educational opportunities for their children.

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

Before assuming her current position, President Tuminez was a world leader in the fields of technology and political science, most recently serving as an executive at Microsoft, where she led corporate, external, and legal affairs in Southeast Asia. She is also the former Vice Dean of Research and Assistant Dean of Executive Education at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (the premier school of public policy in Asia).

In 2012, President Tuminez authored a report on women’s leadership in Asia, sponsored by Asia Society and the Rockefeller Foundation, titled “Rising to the Top? A Report on Women and Leadership in Asia.” The report was launched in Shanghai, translated into Vietnamese, and used widely in Asia. As a researcher and advocate for women and leadership, she has given many keynotes on the subject to business, political, financial, and non-profit audiences in Asia and Europe.

President Tuminez and her husband, Jeffrey S. Tolk, have three children. In her spare time, she enjoys running, dancing, and martial arts.

Angie Walker (Salt Lake Community College, UWHEN Board Chair Elect), commented, “The UWHEN board is excited to have President Tuminez stepping in as our next presidential sponsor! We’re grateful for her willingness to bring her energy and passion to UWHEN’s work supporting women in higher education!” We welcome President Tuminez as our 2020-2023 Presidential Sponsor!