In memoriam

Dr. Louis Costa

Dr. Louis Costa died in Arizona on March 12 at the age of 80. Costa came to the Department of Psychology in 1978 from City College in New York where he had trained and had been chair of the Psychology Department.

That same year, he and Byron Rourke of the University of Windsor established the Journal of Clinical Neuropsychology that later was renamed the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology when it became the official journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. Also, in 1978, Costa became the executive secretary of the International Neuropsychological Society and worked with many other neuropsychologists to establish the Division of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40) in the American Psychological Association. He and Donald Stuss (Rotman Institute) took leadership in establishing a Section on Clinical Neuropsychology within the Canadian Psychological Association.

In 1980, Costa became the chair of the Department of Psychology at UVic and the following year became the associate dean of Social Sciences. At that time, the Faculty of Arts and Science was reorganized into a three-dean system, and he served as dean of Social Sciences for the balance of that decade.

During his engagement in administration at UVic, he promoted and facilitated considerable expansion of programs, faculty and other resources in the departments of the social sciences. For example, he was instrumental in the establishment of a program in Developmental Psychology and Aging (Lifespan program) within the Department of Psychology and the Centre on Aging, a university-wide, multidisciplinary centre designed to facilitate research and teaching within the field of aging. Through his time at UVic, he was a strong advocate for the development of a graduate training program in clinical psychology (Clinical Psychology Training Program).

Research and graduate research supervision were also important contributions Costa made to the Department of Psychology. While serving as chair and dean, he provided mentorship and guidance to many graduate students (MSC and PhD) and continued to contribute to their professional development long after “hooding” them at convocation.

In 1994, Costa, David Hultsch and Byron Rourke collaborated as the founding editors of Aging and Cognition: A Journal on Normal and Dysfunctional Development. Costa served as co-editor of this journal and the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology until 1996 when he retired from UVic. In 2008, Costa was honoured for his many foundational contributions to the International Neuropsychological Society at the 36th annual meeting held in Hawaii.

Following his retirement, Lou and his wife Brenda traveled extensively to various destinations in Europe and Asia. He is survived by Brenda and their son Andrew. The leadership Costa provided to influence UVic as it is today will be felt for many more years to come.

Submitted by Dr. Holly Tuokko, Director, Centre on Aging; Professor, Department of Psychology

Richard Beard May, PhD

Richard Beard

Dr. May died in Spokane, WA on August 23, 2017 after a decade-long struggle with white-matter brain disease.  The neuropsychological research and tests developed by his UVic colleagues made his diagnosis possible.

Dr. May was born on December 20, 1938 in Seattle, WA, the only child of Ruby June Simmons and Louie Beard May, Jr.  His family moved to Edmonds, WA where he attended grades 1-12. He earned his BA from Whitman College in 1961, then received his MA in 1963 and PhD in psychology in 1966 from Claremont Graduate School.

Dr. May was hired by the newly established University of Victoria in 1966 as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. He published numerous articles on developmental, cognitive, and quantitative psychology, and was the senior author of an innovative textbook on statistical methods that included software for data analysis. Dr. May retired in 1996 as Chair and Professor Emeritus, Psychology. He and Marjorie (nee Stevenson), his wife of 55 years, chose Spokane, Washington, to spend their final years together. Dr. May is survived by his wife, sons Robert and Richard, and seven grandchildren.

The family thanks neuropsychologist Dr. Brian Campbell and also Dr. Sanjit Dutta for his care and concern over the past year. Dr. May’s brain was donated to the Brain Science Project.

In memory of Dr. May, a donation may be made to the R. B. May Scholarship Fund, c/o The Development Office, University of Victoria, P. O. Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, or to the Brain Science Project.

Dr. Otfried Spreen (1926-2015)

Otfried Spreen, professor emeritus of psychology (neuropsychology) at the University of Victoria, passed away in Vancouver, B.C. on November 29, 2015 at the age of 89 years. Otfried was a native-born German who held a PhD in Psychology from Frieberg University (1952) and received early training in psychiatry, psychotherapy, and neurology; he remained widely-read, balanced and worldly in his approach to issues throughout his life. On a whim, he applied for and received a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis (1957-1958). During that time he was invited to join Arthur Benton at the Neurosensory Center at the University of Iowa, where he worked until he left to join the faculty of the University of Victoria (UVic) in 1966. He remained at UVic for the rest of his career, including time as chairman of the Department of Psychology from 1971-1973. He continued to collaborate closely with Benton for over 40 years, often inviting Benton to Victoria to share additional expertise with the UVic students. Otfried worked in many areas of psychology and neuropsychology during his own long and distinguished career. He considered himself a “full range” neuropsychologist (as he stated in his only published autobiography: p. 261, “Pathways and reflections”, in A. Stringer, E. Cooley, & A.-L. Christensen [Eds.], Pathways to Prominence in Neuropsychology: Reflections of Twentieth-Century Pioneers, Psychology Press). He had an impressive impact in neuropsychology throughout the lifespan, in both strictly clinical and experimental work, as he studied a variety of topics from head injuries to the aphasias to child learning disabilities and many more.

Among his many important accomplishments, Otfried played a leading role in establishing the graduate training program in Neuropsychology and in running the Psychology Clinic within the Department of Psychology at UVic. He also made stellar contributions to the field of neuropsychology more broadly, including authorship of many scholarly articles and now-classic textbooks (among them the highly lauded A Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests [3 editions, with E. Strauss and E. Sherman as co-authors], Contributions to Neuropsychological Assessment: A Clinical Manual [2 editions, with A. Benton, A. Sivan, K. Hamsher and N. Varney as co-authors] and Developmental Neuropsychology [2 editions, with A. Risser, D. Edgell, D. Tupper and H. Tuokko as co-authors], all published by Oxford University Press). He served on editorial boards for a variety of journals, and actively participated in a number of professional organizations. He was well known internationally and served as part of an early nucleus of colleagues that helped organize the International Neuropsychological Society (INS), and was one of the early diplomates and supporters of ABCN. Among his accolades, he was elected president of INS in 1988, he was honored with the Arthur Benton Lectureship Award from APA Division 40 in 1999, he was named an honorary member of the German Gesellschaft Fuer Neuropsychologie in 1999, and he received the INS Distinguished Career Award in 2008.

Otfried was a modest and unassuming man, who showed a wonderful combination of supportive nature, confidence and humility, and who provided encouragement and knowledge to not only his own children but to a number of students and colleagues over the years. Following his retirement, Otfried lived with his wife Georgia (predeceased him in 2006) in Victoria before moving to metropolitan Vancouver, B.C. to be closer to his family (4 children and 8 grand-children). His contributions to neuropsychology will be appreciated for many years to come.

Submitted by Holly Tuokko, University of Victoria and David E. Tupper, Hennepin County Medical Center and University of Minnesota Medical School. It also appeared in the INS Newsletter in February 2016.

Dr. Esther Strauss

Dr. Esther Strauss of the Department of Psychology passed away on June 17, 2009 at the Palliative Care Unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital after a three and a half year battle with ovarian cancer. Esther obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University in 1969 where she majored in psychology and sociology. She then earned Masters degrees in sociology from Northeastern University (1971) and in special education from Boston University (1972).

Between 1973 and 1976 she worked at the Aphasia Research Center in the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital where she developed her longstanding commitment to neuropsychological research. She completed her doctorate in psychology under Professor Morris Moscovitch in 1980 at the University of Toronto. Esther then took up a position as Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Victoria. She attained the rank of Full Professor in 1991. Among her numerous accomplishments, Esther co-authored (with Professor Otfried Spreen and Dr. Elizabeth Sherman) the standard reference text on neuropsychological tests widely used for clinical diagnosis and evaluation.

Very shortly after arriving at the University of Victoria, she entered into a long-standing and very productive collaboration with Professor Juhn Wada of the University of British Columbia medical school. Together, they published important articles on brain organization based on neurological evidence. More recently, Esther forged a highly successful collaboration (Project MIND) with Professors David Hultsch and Michael Hunter in which they investigated how short-term fluctuations in a person's reaction time predict later mental decline.

As part of her productive program of research, she mentored numerous graduate students who have gone on to successful careers in both academic and clinical settings. These are the objective achievements of an outstanding career. Although impressive, they do not convey the full measure of Esther's impact on students, colleagues, and the university. Simply put, Esther was a treasure of a person. She was smart, warm, funny, and committed to her students, colleagues, department and university. To illustrate the latter: two weeks before her death she participated in a dissertation defense for one of her students.

Even with all her professional accomplishments, Esther always said her greatest achievement was her kids Ze'ev, Avital. and Tamar. She was one of those people who did it all and did it well. We deeply mourn her passing.

Submitted by Dr. David Hultsch, Department of Psychology