Meet Our 2023 Cornell Heroes
By Grace DePaull
Cornell Heroes is an annual campaign – led by the Division of the VP and CHRO in collaboration with local college and unit HR departments – designed to spotlight and celebrate teams for a steadfast commitment to their daily work that serves as a foundation for the university and its mission.
“We launched Cornell Heroes in the spring of 2022 as a way to acknowledge the great work that happens everywhere and every day in various – often unseen – capacities across the university,” said Ashley Miller, recognition program manager.
This year, the program celebrated eight groups:
- College of Veterinary Medicine Facilities Team
- CLASSE Staff
- Center for Animal Resources and Education (CARE) Team
- Alumni Affairs and Development–Office of Prospect Development
- Digital Design and Fabrication Studio Team
- Human Resources Transition and Service Center, Medical Leaves and Absences, Retirement, Health and Welfare Team
- Environment, Health, and Safety Team
- Information Technologies at Cornell
“We wanted this program to be different. We have the Excellence Awards that focuses on exceptional accomplishments and projects; and while there’s a place for that, it’s also so important to thank people for the impactful work they do day-in and day-out,” said Miller. Groups are selected with input by HR partners in the colleges and units and through recommendations provided by colleagues.
Between February and April, various events were held across campus recognizing roughly 800 staff. Rather than hosting a formal awards ceremony, groups were celebrated at their place of work. “We want these events to be more personal, so we go out to recipients and coordinate with their HR department and leadership to design something specifically for them.”
Each employee that is recognized receives a “Cornell Hero” T-shirt and a thank you card from Christine Lovely, vice president and chief human resources officer. Lovely also dropped by several events this year to meet and thank the staff in person.
“Cornell Heroes is an opportunity for the university and college leadership to recognize the dedicated commitment of our staff whose work is sometimes behind the scenes,” Mary Beth Jordan, Director of Human Resources at the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, said.
Jordan recommended several groups, one of which was the Veterinary College facilities team, which was recognized for its response to two major facility fires at the college in July 2022.
“They are behind the scenes making sure the physical property is safe and that we are comfortable at work,” Jordan said. “The team came together and supported the group that went through the loss. Facilities went above and beyond to make sure it was addressed, and that research could go on.”
Visit Cornell Heroes for a complete list of recipients and descriptions of their work.
Grace DePaull is a writer for the Division of Human Resources.