VIRAL: Filipino president of US uni welcomes students in six languages

Photo: Screenshot via Utah Valley University Facebook page
Photo: Screenshot via Utah Valley University Facebook page

As if it wasn’t already impressive for Dr. Astrid Tuminez to become the first-ever female president of the Utah Valley University (UVU), she also flaunted her capability to speak in six languages  in a now-viral Facebook video posted on Monday.

In the video posted by the university, it shows the Filipina welcoming students (and the world) to their campus on the first day of classes in not one, not two, not three, not… Ok, you get the picture. She speaks in six different languages namely: English, Spanish, Ilonggo, Filipino, Russian, and French.

She first introduced herself as the president of the university in Spanish and spoke in English briefly. Afterward, she shared the story of her humble beginnings in Hiligaynon language (aka Ilonggo) and said that she was born and raised in the Philippine province of Iloilo.

She said she lived in the slums, and when Catholic nuns came to their home, they invited Tuminez and her sisters to study.

“Even though we had no money, they (the nuns) let us study for free,” she said in Filipino. “During recess time, when I had no money, I always spent time at the library to read a lot of books and because I read so many books, my brain improved and got better.”

“What I want to say to all the students is work hard, study hard, and read a lot of books so you can finish what you set out to do at UVU,” she stated in Filipino.

Tuminez shared in Russian that she studied Russian literature and its language at the Brigham Young University. After that, she went to Harvard University and studied Sovietology. Later on, she earned her doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tuminez wraps up the linguistic trip by speaking in the language of love — French. She says in the video that she loves French cuisine and poetry.

“I love French poetry, and I would like to say to you, welcome to Utah Valley University,” she ends.

The video had over 134,000 views and 2,800 shares as of this article’s posting. Netizens thought the video was pretty amazing.

Facebook user Ashley Rachelle Voss wrote: “So cute, so powerful, [and] so badass!”

“That was awesome!!! So thrilled to have you- as the president, as a woman leader, as an example. My daughter looks up to you so much,” said LuanaLei Turetzky.

Kim Wright wrote: “We got a little kick out of today! We were walking towards the library going to lunch. We turned around and President Tuminez was waving to us as we walked by her office window. What a breath of fresh air her smile is infectious!”

Laura CB Raymundo said it was “inspiring and refreshing to see, not only a woman leader but a minority as well. Makes me much more hopeful for my future. UVU is becoming more than I could have hoped for.”

Total badass. Kudos to you, President Tuminez!

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