Feb. 9, 2021
Remebering Gail Varin

It is with a heavy heart that OSC shares the loss of Gail Varin who passed January 6, 2021 at 70 years of age. Many in Optical Sciences benefited from her guidance as their graduate student advisor and from her friendship as a coworker and guide. Gail retired from OSC in spring 2013 after more than a decade of service. Professor Mike Nofziger shared his memories of Gail's impact on the college. To add your own memory below, email Amee HennigPuruse these photos from Gail's Retirement Celebration.

Gail was our Graduate Student Advisor for many years. She helped countless of us work our way through our M.S. and Ph.D. programs (myself included). I then had the opportunity to work alongside her, after I joined the Academic Programs office. She was always the consummate professional, and was "always there" to help our students.

- Mike Nofziger, Professor of Optical Sciences


Gail was an outstanding Graduate Assistant who knew all the ins and outs of dealing with the Graduate College. Over the course of her career at Optical Sciences, she helped hundreds of our graduate students meet the requirements of Optical Sciences and the Graduate College and successfully complete their degrees. She was always a pleasure to work with, highly competent, even-tempered, and cheerful.

- Rick Shoemaker, Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences

The matriarch of the Academic Programs Office will remain in my heart and in the hearts of many others as a mentor, confidant and great friend. Gail, thank you for everything and may you rest in eternal peace.

- Anabel Moreno, Past Graduate Student Funding Coordinator

Gail was such an amazing woman! She taught me so much and I always admired how much she loved the students! I’m so sorry to hear of this loss. RIP Gail. You will forever be missed.

- Amanda Stevens, Past Coordinator of Academic Programs and Financial Operations

This is a huge loss for us all. Gail...where to begin? She was our work-mom, our mentor, our friend. She held the academic programs office together through some rough waters and turnover. I loved how annoyed she got with our shenanigans, but then she’d give us the half smile which reminded us that she really was amused by our ridiculousness. I’ll never forget when we went for lunch and she left her windows open during the rain storm! And of course, I can’t pass the Blind Guys without cracking up about her comment “Allison youre the stupidest smart person I know.”  Love you, Gail. Always in our hearts.

- Allison Huff Mac Pherson, CQN Education Director

I always loved Gail!! She was nice and also spunky.

- Laura Ross, Contract Administrator

Gail will be greatly missed. Under that gruff exterior was a heart of gold. She loved her students and would do whatever it took to make their life better.

- Cindy Robertson, Distance Learning Program Coordinator

Gail taught me the workings of the Academic Programs’ Office when I first came from the Temp Agency.  She guided me through the entire process and was always there to answer any questions I may have had or to say ‘good job’ when I completed a task on time and did it correctly.  She was an overall fantastic lady and will be missed by everyone.

- Ruth Corcoran, Academic Office Assistant

I am very sorry to hear about Gail’s death. Gail was a superb Graduate Student Advisor. She loved the students and she helped so many of them in so many different ways. She understood the degree requirements of Optical Sciences and the Graduate College and she made sure the students satisfied these requirements. She was a very important part of Optical Sciences.

- Jim Wyant, Founding Dean of the Wyant College of Optical Sciences