Manuel Cuevas-Trisán has been appointed Harvard University’s vice president for human resources, Executive Vice President Katie Lapp announced today.
An experienced human resources and employment leader with a record of success in both the corporate and higher education sectors, Cuevas-Trisán joins Harvard from Northwestern University, where he has served as vice president and chief human resource officer since 2019. His time at Northwestern was marked by a strong commitment to inclusiveness in the campus’ global workforce, leading the way on promoting diverse candidate slates, pay transparency initiatives, and anti-racism training for senior leaders.
“We are thrilled to have Manuel join our team at this pivotal time as we shape the future of work at Harvard,” Lapp said. “He comes to Harvard with considerable experience as a leader and innovator. He is well-suited to guide the University’s efforts to build on our strong Harvard human resources foundation in establishing a progressive approach to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce of talented individuals, strengthening access to development opportunities, and ensuring Harvard can thrive in our support for our employees in the workplace of the future.”
“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to join the Harvard community at this critical time,” said Cuevas-Trisán. “Harvard and its people stand for excellence and innovation — in education, research, scholarship, and service. As the traditional notions of the workplace continue to evolve, I look forward to helping the University adapt and meet its strategic priorities through progressive talent management practices and an emphasis on the principles of inclusion and belonging.”
Cuevas-Trisán earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in executive coaching and leadership from Universitat de Barcelona. In addition he has received an Employment Law Mediator Program Certification from Cornell University and The Alliance for Education in Dispute Resolution, and is a Certified Information Privacy Manager.
Cuevas-Trisán practiced law in both the public and private sectors in Puerto Rico. He began his career as a legislative aide in the Senate of Puerto Rico and then as judicial clerk in the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals, and then moved to McConnell Valdés, LLP, where he worked as a labor and employment attorney.
He left Puerto Rico to become in-house employment counsel for Motorola in 1998, where he eventually established the privacy and data protection practice and led the global labor and employment team. In 2015 he was promoted to chief human resources officer, a position he held until joining Northwestern in 2019.
In 2015 he served in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace. The task force included experts from the employer community, workers’ advocates, human resources experts, academics, and others in a broader effort to identify strategies that work to prevent and remedy harassment in the workplace.
Cuevas-Trisán’s arrival at Harvard marks the culmination of a national search for a successor to Marilyn Hausammann, who has served as vice president for human resources since 2004 and recently retired from the University at the end of May.
Cuevas-Trisán is married to Dr. Maru Torres-Gregory, a member of the core faculty at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, and the couple has three children.