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Donated Bodies Honored at Interfaith Service

For more information on the Gift Body Program please visit

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Donated Bodies Honored at Interfaith Service

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On Friday, Nov. 9th, students at SLU’s School of Medicine and Allied Health programs participated in an interfaith memorial ceremony honoring those who donated their bodies to SLU via the Gift Body Program, that representing all faiths within the medical class.

The service was held at the St. Francis Xavier College Church and was attended by over 12,000 students, faculty and family members of donors received over the past year. The service was put together by first-year medical students and many students performed music, created artwork, and organized the event. Several students also presented their own reflections on the event.

In the 1930s, the Missouri state anatomical board would allow medical schools to receive unclaimed bodies for the purpose of education. This program would develop into the various gift body programs used by many schools today – giving way to the Gift Body Program that got its start in the early 1960s on the medical campus.

The Gift Body Program is hosted through the SLU School of Medicine’s Center for Anatomical Science and Education (CASE). Donations of people’s bodies are used to educate medical students, residents, as well as Allied Health students. Bodies are cremated after any studies have been completed and biyearly, ashes are buried at the St. Peter and Paul Cemetery in plot 39A approximately 6 miles away from SLU.

A plaque which reads: “Saint Louis University and its students gratefully acknowledge the charity of those buried here, who gave their remains for the advancement of medical science. September 29, 1964” marks the site within the Cemetery.

Over the past year, 413 donations have been made to this SLU program. These donations are primarily from within the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Any donations made to SLU will help educate the next generation of health care professionals as well as help advance the field of medicine.

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Donated Bodies Honored at Interfaith Service