FAU Lab Coordinator Geri Mayer, 67, passes away from COVID-19, virtual memorial service to be held Sunday

In the announcement to the College of Science, Mayer was described by students and colleagues as the “heart,” “cornerstone,” and “mother” of the Department of Biological Sciences.


FAU Lab Coordinator Geri Mayer started working at FAU in 1997. Photo courtesy of FAU.

Zachary Weinberger , Editor-in-Chief

Geri Mayer, a lab coordinator at FAU, passed away on Oct. 8 at the age of 67 due to COVID-19 complications. A virtual memorial service will be held in her honor on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m.

The service will be held on Zoom, and the department will have speakers lined up to talk about Mayer and her impact on them and the school. 

According to Dr. Sarah L. Milton, Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and other faculty staff at the department, Mayer has been working at home since the start of the pandemic.

Throughout October and the start of November, the College of Science (COS) section of the university has released tributes, statements and ways of remembering Mayer. 

Milton put out a statement in the announcement sent to the COS recounting the experiences that she gave to each individual that worked there. 

“Geri’s astonishing ability to juggle tremendous responsibility coupled with her love for and dedication to our students and programs these many years has played an immeasurable role in the Department’s success,” Milton said. “On a personal level, we will all fondly remember Geri’s office as the departmental water cooler of sorts where faculty, staff, and students could spend hours catching up on the latest happenings within the department.”

The Department of Biological Services, where Mayer worked, is developing an outstanding TA award for graduate students under her name, and as the announcement to the COS said, “there is no better way to honor her contributions to FAU than by supporting the students that were so dear to her heart.”

The Department of Biological Services, where Mayer worked, is developing an outstanding TA award for graduate students in her memory. “There is no better way to honor her contributions to FAU than by supporting the students that were so dear to her heart,” The announcement to COS said.

Donations for this can be made through two avenues. Individuals can donate through the COS General Scholarship fund. The other way is to donate through a GoFundMe page.

As of Nov. 14, the GoFundMe campaign has reached 8,950 dollars out of the page’s set goal of 10,000 dollars. 

Zachary Lee, a third-year graduate student who worked in the department, said that while he wasn’t supervised by her, Mayer coordinated with all the TA’s in the section.

Geri was one of those people that could make conversation with anyone,” Lee said. “Her door was always open, a testament to her friendly, laid-back style.”

Lee also said that Mayer “had a lot of compassion and a real soft spot for her exhausted students and teaching assistants.”

Other faculty members at the Department of Biological Services knew Mayer and had nothing but good things to say about her character, including Associate Scientist Diane Baronas-Lowell who knew her for over 23 years.

“She was an incredibly efficient worker, scheduling hundreds of teaching assistants for thousands of students in teaching labs every semester. She genuinely cared about the students and always found time to talk with them and offer worldly advice,” Lowell said. “She was a dear friend to many faculty and staff as well. She had a terrific memory, a wild sense of humor, and a moral compass. FAU will never be the same without her.”

To Evelyn Frazier, a senior instructor at FAU Biological Services, the title “Lab Coordinator” didn’t do Mayer justice for the amount of work she put into the department. 

“Geri was responsible for organizing the curriculum and planning labs for high-enrolment courses in introductory biology courses BSC 1010 and BSC 1011, which had 900 students each semester, as well as Life Sciences BSC 1005, and anatomy and physiology,” Frazier said. “So you get the picture, she was responsible for thousands of undergraduate students.”

Frazier added that her office on-campus was “the most popular spot in the department, her door was always opened for a chat, or for students to complain about the courses.”

“Our department will be a sadder place without her inviting smile, positive attitude towards life, jokes, and welcoming office,” Frazier said.

The department asks if anyone would like to donate to a memorial plaque which is to be posted in the Sanson Life Sciences Building at FAU, to contact Lowell.

Zachary Weinberger is the Editor-in-Chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.