Lianne Sullivan-Crowley will retire as vice president for human resources

Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, who has worked at Princeton since 2005, will step down as vice president for human resources at the end of this academic year. She will continue to serve in a special projects role for one year before retiring from the University.  

Lianne Sullivan-Crowley

Lianne Sullivan-Crowley

During her more than 15 years leading the Office of Human Resources, Sullivan-Crowley has fostered a work environment that enables staff to contribute to Princeton’s teaching and research mission at the highest possible level. 

“Lianne Sullivan-Crowley has changed Princeton for the better,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “Throughout her time at this University, she has kept all of us focused on the value and well-being of Princeton’s staff. She has modernized our human resources office, built a superb team and served as a strategic partner on many crucial decisions. I am grateful for what she has accomplished and for her exceptional colleagueship over the 15 years that we have worked together."

Human Resources oversees the recruitment, retention and development of a highly skilled, diverse and vibrant group of staff members. The office provides services to the University community in the areas of benefits and compensation; child and elder care; diversity and inclusion; employee and labor relations; human resources information systems; learning and development; staff service recognition; talent acquisition; and work life. 

During Sullivan-Crowley’s tenure, HR expanded its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to recruit and retain employees from diverse backgrounds and fields, and established new programs to create community and allyship among staff such as the Employee Resource Groups. HR also has expanded a number of other staff programs and resources, including professional development and learning opportunities; staff and service recognition programs; health benefits and physical and mental wellness resources; retirement and financial resources; and work-life balance and workplace flexibility policies. 

Executive Vice President Treby Williams, to whom Sullivan-Crowley reports, observed that over the course of Sullivan-Crowley’s time as vice president, she has transformed the Human Resources organization and her impact can be felt in every department across campus.   

“Under Lianne’s leadership, HR has enhanced staff recruitment, employee relations and benefit functions, provided robust professional development programs, and created more sophisticated data analysis tools for managers,” Williams said. “These achievements have supported the recruitment, retention and professional development of a more diverse workforce and have promoted an inclusive environment where all can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the University’s mission.”

Williams said Sullivan-Crowley is known for creating and nurturing strong and effective strategic partnerships across the University.

“I have been inspired by Lianne’s human-centered approach as she accomplished ambitious goals and collaborated with colleagues to navigate turbulent times — from the 2008 financial crisis to the recent years of the global pandemic,” Williams said. “Her work and decision making have always been centered around our people — the University’s greatest asset.”

Sullivan-Crowley said it has been an absolute honor to work for and with the University community.

“Human resources work can be complicated — my goal has always been to emphasize the human in human resources, and I hope that our work over the years has been true to that goal,” she said. “Every member of the Princeton community plays an important role in fulfilling our mission of teaching and research. Staff have opportunities to make a meaningful impact on campus, realize their own personal goals, grow professionally, be recognized for their work and enjoy the unique experience that working at a place like Princeton provides.”

She also recognized her team’s work in supporting all of these efforts and thanked colleagues for rising to the recent challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am most proud of the team of folks that work in HR — they are kind, caring and talented — each and every one of them. I am especially grateful for Jeanhee Keyek; we have worked together so many years she can not only finish my sentences — she can start them! She is the backbone of our office,” Sullivan-Crowley said. “I also want to thank my family, Julie, Annie and Elizabeth, for their love and support when the work took over family time.”

In addition to leading the Office of Human Resources, Sullivan-Crowley serves on a number of strategic University committees, including The President’s Cabinet, the Institutional Equity Policy Group, the Housing Committee, the Finance Advisory Council and the Executive Compliance Committee. 

Before Princeton, Sullivan-Crowley worked for more than 20 years in human resources at other higher education institutions, including Smith College and Harvard University.

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, she holds a law degree from Suffolk University Law School. She began her career at the Sheraton Corp. in Boston. 

The University will conduct a national search for the next vice president for human resources with a search committee led by Williams.

Princeton University has approximately 7,300 benefits-eligible employees (staff and faculty) and is one of the largest private employers in central New Jersey.