by Leslie Church
Gloria Chang DiGennaro, an assistant director of human resources who worked at the university for 16 years, died August 25 after a long battle with cancer. She was 68 years old.
“She was a very special person and a dear friend to us,” says Virginia Huffman, vice president for human resources. “This is a great loss.”
Ms. Chang DiGennaro joined Rockefeller as assistant director of human resources in 1996 after working previously as director of human resources at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat and New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center. She received her B.A. and M.A. in French from the University of Colorado, and her J.D. from Pace University. Her educational background and extensive experience positioned her as a key contributor to all aspects of human resources.
Ms. Chang DiGennaro was born in Shanghai, China, on July 9, 1944, where her father was the editor of an English-language paper. Forced to flee China in 1950 as communism was taking hold, Ms. Chang DiGennaro’s father left for Singapore, and he was joined by his wife and seven daughters several years later. The family immigrated to the United States in 1956 and settled in Colorado Springs, where Ms. Chang DiGennaro spent the rest of her childhood.
“Gloria was a very refined woman,” says Ms. Huffman. “She loved travel, theatre, film, music, art and language and availed herself frequently of New York City’s cultural opportunities.” In addition to French and Russian, Ms. Chang DiGennaro was fluent in two dialects of Chinese.
Known for her strong work-ethic, she managed a number of initiatives in human resources, including the university’s affirmative action plan and several campuswide training courses.
Perhaps influenced by her time spent at Rockefeller, Ms. Chang DiGennaro participated in clinical trials at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, helping advance scientific understanding of the disease by testing new drugs.
She is survived by Michael DiGennaro of New Rochelle and their two children, Paul, 36, and Leah, 34.