Elizabeth Ann Hays
April 29, 1940- February 20, 2009
Best known for her love of frogs and passion for change, Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Hays, a beloved educator, activist and advisor, passed away February 20, 2009. She was 68.
Betty Hays was born in Riverhead, New York, to parents Frank and Ann Teuber. She graduated from Riverhead High School in 1958 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology from Keuka College in Keuka Park, New York. She also received a doctorate in zoology from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.
Dr. Hays, who was best known as “the frog doctor,” taught at the University of Rochester and Nazareth College in New York before coming to Barry. For 24 years she served as a biology professor and taught physiology and biomedical science courses. She also served students as an advisor in pre-professional disciplines.
“She was dedicated to her students; taking them from where they were and dragging them, if necessary, to where she wanted them to be – where their potential could take them,” said Sister John Karen Frei, OP, PhD. Sister Frei, former dean of the former School of Natural and Health Sciences, first hired Dr. Hays as a biology professor in 1985.
Dr. Hays was a vigorous advocate for her students, the university and her Fort Lauderdale community. At Barry, she served as chair of the faculty senate and was a member of the women’s studies committee, the university honors council, graduate council and the mission effectiveness committee among others.
“She was a smart and sweet woman who cared,” said Claire Hart ’07, one of the many students Dr. Hays advised during her long tenure at Barry. “She was like my mom at a time when I didn’t have one next to me in college. She was genuinely concerned about not just our grades, but also our physical and mental health as well.”
Dr. Hays was a volunteer in various community and nonprofit organizations including being a foster mom to pets through Grateful Paws. She was active in city, county and state government and was a member of the Florida Academy of Sciences, the Stranahan High School mentoring program, the City of Fort Lauderdale Civic Association, City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation, Southwest Coalition, Broward County Schools Education Advisory Board and the Florida Teachers Association.
Dr. Hays is survived by her husband William E. Hays, daughters Anne Patricia Hays and Catherine “Kitty” Grant, son-in-law Scott Grant, and grandsons Dominick Hays and Camron Grant as well as numerous cousins and other family members.