Annual Memorial Service
In 1980, first-year medical students began offering a MEMORIAL SERVICE in remembrance of those who have donated their bodies to benefit medical research and education. First year medical and physical therapy students organize and present a unique gathering that reflects the respect felt for the donors and their families, and provides the opportunity for the students and their instructors to demonstrate their appreciation for the donors' important gifts. That tradition continues today. The service is conducted in the late spring on the Upstate campus, and family members of all donors received in the previous calendar year are invited to attend.
Paying Tribute to Those Who Have Made Donations...
"You have given four individuals the answers to their dreams. With each day...we come closer to understanding the process by which we live and die. Your gift is the key to our education. You are our most important class—your silence is our most important lecture—you are our most interesting professor. You are a valiant person and I will never, ever forget you. For the body you have donated so that I may one day help others, I thank you from the depths of my soul. May God bless you for your ultimate and priceless gift."
—Elan Salzhauer, a SUNY Upstate Medical University student,
speaking at the Memorial service.
Dear Dr. Berg,
It has taken me longer than I hoped to tell you, the other doctors, and the medical students, how very touched I was by the memorial service honoring my husband and all those special people who donated their bodies. Other than the miracle of seeing my four children after birth, I don't think I have ever been so moved before in my life. My husband was a wonderful man, and I wish you could have known him. He was smart, funny, thoughtful, and had such a positive attitude, even after being diagnosed with lymphoma. There never was any question in his mind that he would donate his body to help educate others and I am so proud that he did and that you all appreciated his gift...
"Nothing material you have given me, yet (you have) bestowed upon me the most precious of gifts. The tears I shed for you are not of loss; death comes for us all. No, my sorrow is that I could not give you my gift in return, that I cannot tell you how much your gift has meant to me. What I would give to thank you."
—Anonymous, excerpt from "Gifts",
read at the 1996 MEMORIAL SERVICE