Media Contacts

Marissa Villaseñor

Manager, Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 801-581-3102

May 22, 2015 10:00 AM

What:  A memorial service to honor more than 240 people who gave their bodies to science and education at the University of Utah last year.

When:  Friday, May 22 at 11 a.m.

Where:  Body Donor Program Grave Site, northwest corner of the Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 North N Street

Who:  The program will include remarks from Kerry Don Peterson, director of the U’s Body Donor Program; Wayne Samuelson, M.D., vice dean of education, School of Medicine. The program will also include musical presentations and a congregational sharing opportunity for family and friends.

Details: The Latin phrase, Mortui vivos docent (the deceased teach the living), can be found in anatomy laboratories around the world. According to Kerry Don Peterson, director of the U’s Body Donor Program, the best medium for research and study of the human being is the body itself. “The three-dimensional intricacies of the human body cannot be fully duplicated in books, on slides, by computers, or through the use of plastic models,” he says.

With the recent class size expansion of the University’s School of Medicine, this year we are particularly interested in educating the public about body donations. The kind gifts are even more critical with the increase of medical students and future physicians.  

Since 1998, the annual service has been held on the Friday before Memorial Day to honor those who’ve given their bodies for research at the U of U. In addition to helping educate future health-care professionals, cadavers also are used by researchers to develop new technologies and to teach practicing physicians novel procedures and techniques for surgery.

The U’s volunteer Body Donor Program was formalized in the early 1940s when the medical school became a four-year program. After the bodies are studied or used in research, they are cremated. The remains then are given to the family or buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.


body donor Memorial Day