Medical students honor anatomy donors at annual memorial service

HERSHEY, Pa. — Penn State College of Medicine students paid tribute to the people and families who donated bodies for study, at the annual memorial service on April 30 at the Hershey Cemetery. Caleb Frank, class president and first-year medical student, made the welcoming remarks, then the future physicians expressed their gratitude through song, poetry and personal reflection. Family members of the donors were also invited to speak.

The ceremony honored 92 individuals. In addition to the 100 students, faculty and staff, 125 families attended the service as well. The memorial service provides family members an opportunity to better understand how their loved one’s gift impacts the medical students.

“The memorial service was the most unique — and in many ways the most beautiful — experience of my life,” said the spouse of one donor. “Instead of the traditional emphasis on the sadness of death, the College of Medicine students made it a service of gratitude and respectful honor for those like my wife who donated ‘Their Greatest Gift.’

“The students were all a tribute to Hershey Medical Center with their youthful enthusiasm and outgoing spirit as they made the families of the donors feel truly appreciated. The impact of this deeply worthwhile ceremony will stay with me the rest of my life.”

Watch a video of the 2017 ceremony. For information on how to donate one's body to science, visit the Humanity Gifts Registry website or contact Dee Clarke at Penn State College of Medicine at 717-531-4615.

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Last Updated May 23, 2018