Stony Brook Matters

A Night of Gratitude: The Donor Remembrance Ceremony

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2018 Night of Gratitude Donor Remembrance Ceremony

My family and I were overwhelmed by the the remembrance ceremony. The music was wonderful, the photographs moving and beautifully introduced and displayed, and the food was excellent — and most unexpected.

You created a kind and moving evening for everyone present. Thank you to all the students who participated for a remembrance ceremony that we will remember always.
— Mrs. W, daughter of donor

Each year, the incoming class of Stony Brook medical students begins its medical journey with the study of human anatomy. Students delve into the intricacies of the human body, and by the end of the course become very attached to what we consider our “first patient.” It is a privilege to have this experience, which is only possible because patients volunteer to donate their bodies to Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine. This generous act is one of the greatest gifts that can be given to a medical student.

To express our gratitude and commemorate these many wonderful acts of kindness, the student body hosts a Donor Remembrance Ceremony. This event, run completely by students, welcomes the family members and friends of donors to our University for a night of remembrance.

For many families, it is an event that provides deeper meaning to their loved one’s decision to donate and provide closure. For students, it is a reminder of the humanity of our patients. Thanks to the generosity of the Stony Brook School of Medicine Alumni Association, this past year’s ceremony was the largest event yet, bringing together over one hundred family members and friends of donors and about a hundred members of Stony Brook’s faculty and student body. It was an incredible night filled with stories, laughter, tears and new memories — a night that many of us will never forget.

This year’s Night of Gratitude is tentatively scheduled for early March, and we need your support! For more information on how you can be part of the the Night of Gratitude, please contact

— Lauren Chan and Aaron Zlatopolsky, senators of the Class of 2021

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