Mary George Opperman serves as vice president and chief human resources officer with leadership responsibility for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement, Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity, Division of Human Resources and Title IX Compliance.
These operations, though distinct in service, all prioritize and support the university’s primary goal of excellence in scholarship – learning, discovery, and engagement. The excellence of our faculty, students and staff is what makes the university a great place to teach, conduct research, and work.
Cornell has received numerous workplace accolades for the quality of its Human Resources programs. AARP twice named Cornell the #1 U.S. employer for workers 50 and older — making Cornell the first employer to receive this top billing more than once. Cornell has also been recognized by organizations including Working Mother, the Business Research Guide, and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption for its programs, benefits and services in support of a diverse workforce.
Diversity and inclusion efforts continue to grow at Cornell with an increased emphasis on creating a climate that attracts and retains diverse talent. The Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity focuses on diversity of staff, partnering with experts across campus to advance a comprehensive diversity and inclusion agenda for the university.
In spring 2016, the Office of the Title IX Coordinator was established to focus on Title IX compliance and to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all members of the Cornell community, free of incidents of sexual misconduct. The office, led by the Title IX Coordinator, includes two title IX investigators and a case coordinator.
Cornell’s innovative Center for Regional Economic Advancement provides support and mentorship to students, faculty and community members in their entrepreneurial initiatives and new business startups to help advance regional economic diversity and growth. In 2014, Cornell partnered with Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College to found Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, a New York State-funded new business incubator in downtown Ithaca.
Mary is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources and is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management as a senior professional in human resources. In March 2015, she was selected by the editors of Human Resource Executive magazine as one of the 15 most influential women leaders in human resources.
Mary is an avid supporter of her community, and has served on numerous boards of local and national organizations. She is currently active on the boards of Ithaca College, Kendal at Ithaca, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, Tompkins County Area Development, the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, and the Paleontological Research Institution. Mary is also a member of the Governing Body for the New York HR Leadership Summit.
Prior to joining Cornell in 1996, Mary spent 13 years in the human resource function at Harvard University. She is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta.