VOLUME 33, NUMBER 2 THURSDAY, September 6, 2001

Memorial service for Spina scheduled for Sept. 13

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A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 13 in 250 Baird Hall, North Campus, for Mary Beth Spina, a member of the UB News Services staff for 27 years who died July 8 in her Clarence home. She was 59.

Spina, who served as radio/television coordinator at UB at the time of her death, was known throughout Western New York—and by many press outlets throughout the country—for her writing, professional expertise and ability to "find an expert" for reporters on virtually any subject at any hour of the day or night.

Armed with a sense of humor, raspy voice and a Southern accent that became more pronounced the longer she lived in the Buffalo area, she was dogged in her pursuit of press for her "stars"—UB faculty members whose media savvy and expertise in pertinent fields kept Spina hot on their tails.

A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Spina earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. She worked for more than 40 years in the fields of journalism and public relations, including stints as a reporter for newspapers in Tennessee and at the former Buffalo Courier-Express.

Spina joined the staff of the UB Office of News Services in 1974, working as health-sciences editor until 1982 when she assumed the responsibilities of radio/television coordinator.

News Services has established a memorial fund in Spina's honor with the intention that the funds raised will be used for an annual prize in her name to an outstanding UB student pursuing a career in journalism or public relations.

Donations may be made payable to the UB Foundation, in care of the Mary Beth Spina Memorial Fund.

Peter Jusczyk, former member of psychology faculty

Peter W. Jusczyk, a former UB researcher whose pioneering studies advanced scientists' understanding of how and when babies develop language, died of a heart attack Aug. 23 while attending a conference in California. He was 53.

One of the most prolific and energetic researchers in the field, Jusczyk was a professor of psychology at UB for six years before joining the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University in 1996.

Through sophisticated experiments that gauged babies' responses to verbal cues, Jusczyk showed that infants have the ability to recognize sound patterns and match them to their meanings long before they begin to babble.

Early work by Jusczyk and colleague Peter Eimas at Brown University that found that month-old babies can perceive subtle differences in sounds—such as between "pa" and "ba"—reinvigorated the field and encouraged others to study infant language perception and development.

Jusczyk graduated from Brown University in 1970. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

Survivors include his wife, Ann Marie, a former UB staff member who ran his laboratory in the Department of Psychology.

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