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May 03 2012

NYIT Medical Students Honor Body Donors

Memorial to Body Donors

Old Westbury, N.Y.  (May 3, 2012)  ΜΆ  A contingent of medical students thanked the 57 men and women who donated their bodies to science at a memorial service marked by expressions of gratitude and the dedication of a flowering cherry tree on grounds near NYIT’s New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In 28 three-hour sessions last fall, groups of first-year students performed complete dissections of the bodies. Anatomy Department Chairman Robert Hill said the youngest donor was 59 and the oldest was 97; both died of colon cancer.  The donors also included a man who committed suicide, said Hill, who noted that the mental health and physical well-being of humans are inextricably linked.
NYCOM memorial service donor treeHill said that as the students dissected the bodies “they were simultaneously building the person up as teacher, friend, first patient” and learning a key characteristic of a medical professional:  compassion.
NYCOM student government representatives plan the ceremony with guidance from Director of Student Life Linda Darroch-Short, who started the annual ceremony in 2009. Class President Eric Ascher welcomed about 200 students to the service, telling his classmates that although they started out somewhat afraid of the unknown, they learned much about themselves and each other through their anatomy studies. 
“They say that old age imparts wisdom,” said Sarah Van Dine, reading the poem she and seven students composed, “but did you know that you would grant wisdom following death? Your hands, your face instill in us your humanity – a vibrant life well lived.” 
Students Casey Chafe and Renata Kuperman sang the song “Angels.” Each student received a 60-page booklet of poems, original artwork, thank-you letters, and even a word cloud expressing thanks.
Following the indoor ceremony, the students placed red roses at the base of a small tree. The dedication, written by student Marwah Ibrahem, paid homage to the donors:  “May blessings shower your soul each time we come across the knowledge your bodies were the first to teach...”
About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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