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2024 Cornell Heroes

Staff teams named 2024 Cornell Heroes for excellence at work.

From safeguarding the campus community to providing care for pets in the animal hospital to addressing bias incidents and fostering an inclusive workplace, Cornell staff are integral to keeping the university thriving.

basket with tshirts & gifts
A basket with shirts and gifts distributed at a Cornell Heroes event.

Nine groups are being recognized as “Cornell Heroes” for their exceptional contributions and dedication to the essential tasks that uphold the university’s operations.

“The Cornell Heroes campaign is about letting our employees know we see them and they matter,” said Vail Eubanks, employee recognition program manager. “It doesn’t matter where our staff work within the institution – on campus, remote or hybrid. We see them and want to give a small token of our thanks for being the backbone of this institution.”

The campaign is led by the Division of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in collaboration with human resources departments in colleges and units.

This year, the following teams are being celebrated:

  • Animal Care Attendant Team, Cornell University Hospital for Animals
  • Department of Inclusion and Belonging
  • Division of Public Safety
  • eCornell Helpdesk Team
  • eCornell Animation Team
  • Energy Management Control Systems Team
  • Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX
  • Payroll Office, Division of Financial Services
  • Procurement Team, Division of Financial Services

Since its launch in 2022, the number of Cornell Heroes has grown annually, with nearly 200 staff recognized this year.

table loaded with tshirts, stickers, cards
Appreciation gifts at a Cornell Heroes event

This is the first year two entirely remote teams will be celebrated: eCornell’s help desk and animation teams. In 2023 alone, the eCornell help desk team resolved more than 100,000 cases while maintaining an exceptionally high customer satisfaction rating of 4.81 out of 5. Meanwhile, eCornell’s animation team partnered with various groups across the university to support the diverse learning styles of more than 130,000 students by creating accessible, engaging visuals.

“Both of these teams do great work behind the scenes that contribute to the student experience at Cornell,” said Tiffany Wood, director of human resources at eCornell.

Wood, with her colleagues Reina Martin and Rachel Ricci, nominated both eCornell teams for the award.

“There are several employees on these teams who do not live in the area, state or even the same time zone, yet I’m continuously impressed by their ability to stay connected and be supportive of one another,” Wood said. “They are the first eCornell teams to be recognized as heroes, so we have a lot of pride in having members of our community represented among so many other wonderful units and groups. I hope it serves as a reminder that they are valued, and their contributions inspire others to continue to make a positive impact at the university.”

Cornell Heroes will be celebrated at their workplaces. Through June, various events will be held across campus and virtually to recognize the working teams. Each employee receives a “Cornell Hero” T-shirt and a thank-you card from Christine Lovely, vice president and chief human resources officer, who will also drop by several events to meet and thank staff in person.

The campaign offers the opportunity for staff in divisions, units and colleges to commemorate their colleagues and reflect on the impact of their work.

“I couldn’t be happier and prouder to see each member of these departments recognized. Their resilience, inspiration, big hearts and commitment reflect and live out Cornell’s mission and values,” said Lisa Patz, director of human resources.

Patz nominated the Department of Inclusion and Belonging and the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX, which strive to create an equitable and inclusive environment for staff, faculty and students.

“The work that these teams do deserves to be celebrated,” said Patz. “They rise to the challenge to create an infrastructure to educate university members and are proactive leaders paving a path for success for the Cornell community. The strength of these teams is admirable and makes me proud to be a part of the university.”

Visit Cornell Heroes for a complete list of recipients and descriptions of their work.

Grace DePaull is communications assistant in the Department of Inclusion and Belonging in the Division of Human Resources.

This article originally ran in the Cornell Chronicle, May 13, 2024.