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Peter Gessner

Published July 3, 2014

A celebration of the life of Peter K. Gessner, emeritus professor of pharmacology, will take place at 9:30 a.m. July 8 in Windows on the Green at the Westwood Country Club, 772 N. Forest Road, Williamsville.

Gessner, who also served as director of the Polish studies program at UB, died June 27 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 83.

A native of Warsaw, Poland, Gessner escaped to Italy during the Nazi occupation of Poland.

After the war, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of London.

He joined the UB faculty as an assistant professor in 1962, rising through the ranks to full professor in 1975. A prolific researcher, he published more than 90 papers before he retired in 2006.

Gessner was asked to direct UB’s new summer program at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, in 1990, and later became director of the academic exchange program between the two universities. He was director of UB’s Polish studies program from 1997 until 2006.

He also served as president of the Polish Arts Club of Buffalo from 1992 to 2005, and as president and board member of the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Western New York chapter, as well as a member of the foundation’s National Advisory Committee.

He received the Order of Merit from Jagiellonian University in 1995 and was presented with the Officers Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2006 by the Polish ambassador to the U.S.