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USD Hosts Memorial Service to Honor Donors to Body Donor Program

A marker at the Vermillion cemetery that says, "In grateful memory of those who have contributed their bodies to medical education and research." The Body Donor Memorial Service honors those who have donated their bodies to the study of medicine and their loved ones.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences and the Sanford School of Medicine will honor the 2018 donors to the Body Donor Program and their families during a special memorial service at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 at the atrium of the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medical and Science Building.

This is the fifteenth year of the memorial service that honors family members by recognizing the contribution of their loved ones who gave a special gift to the study of medicine. Students from the medical, physician assistant, occupational therapy and physical therapy programs along with faculty and staff will share testimonials and their appreciation to family members in attendance.

“The Body Donation Program’s Memorial Service is an important opportunity for students, faculty and staff to show appreciation for our donors’ selfless gifts. The service also allows us to honor the family and friends who supported their loved one’s wishes,” said Sara Bird, coordinator of the Body Donation Program.

The Sanford School of Medicine and the School of Health Sciences relies on the voluntary donation of bodies for medical and other professional health programs. Body donations are crucial in teaching gross anatomy as the foundation for physicians, physician assistants, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, occupational and physical therapists, and paramedics. Donors have served as the "first patient" for thousands of USD students.

“The memorial service is integral to the human anatomy experience, as not only learning the human body, but also learning this donor’s story. Our bodies tell our life history, in a way, and this is a unique experience that we are all deeply grateful to have,” Dr. Angela Schladoer, co-director of the Body Donation Program said. “We come to honor these people and their families, because they provide an invaluable learning experience that will impact our students and their patients for years to come.” 

To learn more about the Body Donation Program, visit


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News