Laura Papotto, 35 years

Senior Director of HR and Faculty Operations/Chief of Staff

Emory College of Arts and Sciences

Laura Papotto with Rosemary Magee

Me with Rosemary Magee (former Secretary of Emory University) in 2019.

Tell us a little about the work you've done at Emory throughout your career.

My entire Emory career has been in Administration within Emory College of Arts and Sciences. I have held 11 different titles and my work has spanned Human Resources, Finance, Research Administration, Facilities, Faculty Affairs with the largest percentage seemingly always "other duties as assigned". 

What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Emory?

Assisting at Commencement and shaking Mikhail Gorbachev's hand when he was the speaker. Getting Jimmy Carter to sign one of his poetry books. Hearing directly from Deborah Lipstadt what she was going through during the David Irving libel suit and feeling the pride by association of her work and the support Emory gave her through that battle where she basically had to prove the Holocaust occurred.

What are some of the most significant changes you have witnessed over the course of your career?

Nine Emory College deans if you include interim ones. Technology advances - I started on an Emory XT computer. There was no voicemail and I recall vividly the resistance by leadership to its introduction. They were worried no one would ever answer their phone again but 6 months later they were complaining about any phone that didn't have voicemail. I also laugh about the BINDERS we compiled in anticipation of Y2K and the complete nothing that resulted. 

Laura Papotto with Dean Michael Elliott

Me with Dean Michael Elliott in 2019.

What do you hope for the future of Emory?

More of the same, meaning this is a place where I have never been bored. Intelligent people doing new and creative things for the betterment of society. 

Anything else you would like to share?

I feel so blessed to have landed at Emory right out of college. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my history degree, so I signed up with a temp agency and they sent me to Emory for my first assignment and here I still am. 

Laura Papotto winning Employee of the Year Award

A picture from the November 26, 2001 Emory Report of me winning Employee of the Year for Emory College.