Custodians continue a co-worker's legacy

- Sarah Tarnopolsky

Cosier, right, in 2008 with then-graduate student David Stuss, a recipient of the Custodian’s Award. Photo: UVic Photo Services.

The university lost one of its unsung heroes in January 2017: long-serving member of janitorial services, Greig Cosier. His death is acutely felt by students and staff in the areas he worked.

“Because of his capacity to care, his huge smile and his signature wave, he would be a shining light for office occupants in times of personal and work stress,” says Lawrence Lu, manager of janitorial services. Cosier’s shining light was far-reaching.

He volunteered his personal time to UVic events at every opportunity. Staff and faculty from across campus gathered for his memorial service in the Interfaith Chapel, where staff member Gillian Cornwall offered these words about him:

“There are giants among us, walking humbly with their heads high and smiles upon their faces. The act of giving fills them with no need for a return on the investment but great pleasure in a smile or a word of greeting returned. Greig filled his heart through giving—every day to everyone. He gave with that smile of his, that twinkle in his eye, his sheer joy at simply seeing a friendly face and sharing a greeting.”

Few people knew that Cosier had been giving to UVic students for many years. He set up the Custodians Award for graduate students in science. He even took the annual recipient and 12 friends out for pizza.

“I saw how hard they worked and wanted to do something to lift their spirits and reward them,” he said in a 2016 interview.

He also took great joy from seeing his example spread. “I see the folks who work in student services fill huge garbage bags for the food bank, or my co-workers in facilities raising money for cancer each year. It makes me happy to know other staff are giving back.”

After his death, co-workers and friends decided to continue his legacy. So far, they’ve raised $5,700 for the Greig Cosier Memorial Scholarship through individual gifts, ongoing payroll deductions and several fundraising events.

Continuing Cosier’s other tradition, Lu and co-worker Peter Cassar took one of this year’s recipients, Monica Mesa Perez, for lunch. “Although we understood Greig to have some learning challenges, he had no limitations to the capacity of his heart,” says Lu.

Cosier's legacy of giving was celebrated at the annual Faculty and Staff Donor Appreciation Breakfast on April 10, 2018. 

Donate to the Greig Cosier Memorial Scholarship


In this story

Keywords: philanthropy, award, staff, in memoriam

People: Greig Cosier

Publication: The Ring

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