Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion

Deadline Extended: Nominations will be accepted through April 15, 2024.

Note: previously declined Opperman Award nominations can be resubmitted, with updates as appropriate.


The Employee Assembly will present the Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion annually to a staff member who exemplifies a continued dedication to fostering a sense of belonging and a workplace environment of honesty, fairness, and respect for all.

Award recipients will be recognized at an EA recognition event and will receive a monetary award funded through the Office of the President.

Since its inception, the Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion (previously the Opperman Award) has been received by employees who have gone above and beyond to be be exemplars of the University's mission and core values. (See Past Recipients).


  1. All benefits eligible Cornell Staff, union, and academic employees who work on the Ithaca, Geneva, or Tech campus are eligible for consideration for this award. Please note: This does not include temporary and casual employees, graduate and undergraduate students, postdocs, visiting fellows, fellow post doc, post doc associate, cooperative extension staff or retired employees.
  2. Please note that each award has different eligibility criteria. If your nominee is not eligible for this particular award, we encourage you to explore other EA awards.
  3. Nominations can be submitted by any Cornell employee (staff, faculty, or academic professional).
  4. Nominations must be for individuals only. If you would like to nominate a group, please visit the President’s Awards for Employee Excellence website and nominate via the One Cornell category.
  5. Nominees will be vetted by their college/unit HR representative to ensure that they are in good standing.


Any employee wishing to nominate a colleague should have direct experience with the nominee and must submit a completed nomination packet. The nomination packet is a single PDF document consisting of:

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Nomination letter explaining why the nominee deserves the award by providing answers to the questions below, citing relevant criteria and examples wherever possible. This can be co-signed by multiple employees.
  • How does the nominee foster a positive environment where staff at all levels know they are valued and appreciated contributors to Cornell and its mission?
  • How does the nominee's personal moral principles coincide with the University's vision?
  • Hows does this nominee demonstrate high standards of personal conduct, honesty, and trustworthy behavior?
  • How does the nominee show their commitment to encouraging, advocating for, and supporting staff excellence through promoting developmental opportunities, supporting flexible work arrangements, and/or advocating for a work/life balance?
  • What examples can be provided to show how this nominee views changes or challenges as opportunities and helps others to see things from that perspective?

3.One additional letter of support from other members of the Cornell community (direct supervisor, staff, faculty, students, administrators, alumni).

Please Note: Nominations and letters of support should be no more than 2 pages each. A limit on length allows for a manageable, equitable review process of each nomination. Each nomination is reviewed by committee members as part of the selection process.

Selection Criteria

Nominees must have a demonstrable history at Cornell of: 

  1. Communicating between differences in order to build a collaborative, inclusive, and respectful community that engages everyone, no matter their background.

  2. Consistent strong moral principles that coincide with the University's vision.

  3. Adhering to high standards of personal conduct while acting in an honest and trustworthy manner.

  4. Demonstrating commitment to encouraging, advocating for, and supporting staff excellence with leadership, while being an advocate for work/life balance, flexible work arrangements, and promoting developmental opportunities.

  5. Having a consistent, positive attitude that sees changes or challenges as opportunities and helps others to see things from that perspective

Please review the scoring rubric for details and examples.

Selection Process:

  1. The Office of Assemblies will compile all nomination submissions and share with the Staff Recognition and Awards Sub-Committee (SRAC) members who will use the approved rubric to grade each nominee and then submit the top three highest ranking nominees to the CORC chair.
  2. University Human Resources will review the nominees in the same process as the George Peter Award and President’s Awards for Excellence.
  3. SRAC chair will share the top three candidates with the CORC Chair to share with CORC members prior to next CORC meeting.
  4. The CORC will cast a final vote of the top three candidates at the next CORC meeting.
  5. Once the final candidate has been vetted and approved by HR, the SRAC chair will notify the nominee’s supervisor.
  6. After approval is received from the nominee’s supervisor, SRAC chair will notify the nominator and then the nominee of the award.
  7. If desired by the nominee’s supervisor, the SRAC will coordinate and execute the recognition event with the nominee’s supervisor and VP Lovely’s office.

The selection committee is accepting nominations from March 4th, 2024 through April 15th, 2024. Note: previously declined nominations can be resubmitted, with updates as appropriate.

If you have any questions about the award and the process for nominations, please contact the chair of the Employee Assembly Communications, Outreach & Recognition Committee at or, for technical difficulties, contact the Office of the Assemblies at


In 2013, the Employee Assembly established the Opperman Award to extend their appreciation and gratitude to Vice President of Human Resources and Safety Services, Mary George Opperman, for fostering a positive environment where staff are valued contributors to the campus community and its mission. Furthermore, VP Opperman has supported the engagement and inclusion of staff across campus in response to the Employee Engagement Survey, fostering an environment where employees can express their opinions and share experiences while working to create recommendations on core issues of concern discovered in the survey. Therefore, the Employee Assembly passed Resolution 5 on May 31, 2013, to publicly recognize VP Opperman and her continued efforts in creating a culture that allows staff to thrive at home and in the workplace. 

In 2021, the Employee Assembly Communications, Outreach and Recognition Committee (CORC) launched the new Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion in place of the Opperman Award for Staff Advocacy per resolution EA R10: Revision and Renaming of The Opperman Award.