Annual DMU memorial service for body donors free, open to public

(Des Moines, IA) – On Friday, May 20, Des Moines University (DMU) will honor 57 Iowans who donated their bodies in the past year to further medical education. The family of each donor, the DMU community and the public are invited to remember and recognize each generous gift.

The non-denominational service will begin at 1 p.m. in the Student Education Center auditorium, 3300 Grand Avenue, and is open to all. The body donor memorial service has been held annually for at least 39 years. Military honors will be performed for the veteran donors. Family members at the service will be given a lapel pin that honors the gift their loved ones made. At least 300 people are expected to attend.

“Thanks to the incredibly selfless gift made by these individuals, we are able to uniquely educate and train our DMU students in anatomy, as well as educating students from local schools about how to take care of their bodies,” said Donald Matz, Ph.D., chair of the DMU anatomy department.

This year’s service recognizes donors from the following Iowa towns: Adel, Agency, Altoona, Ames, Boone, Burlington, Carlisle, Clear Lake, Dayton, Des Moines, Dyersville, Ellsworth, Fort Dodge, Grinnell, Guthrie Center, Osceola, Oskaloosa, Peru, Pleasant Hill, Quasqueton, Rolfe, Shenandoah, Sioux City, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, Winterset and Whittemore.

The Body Donor Program at Des Moines University has been contributing to medical investigation and student education for as long as the University has. Since detailed record keeping began in 1955, more than 2,300 bodies have been donated to DMU. Studying the body’s systems and organs contributes to a thorough understanding of human anatomy. When a body is donated to the program, the University pays a portion of the transportation costs and provides for the memorial service and entombment.

Making death preparations is not something most people like to talk about, but planning ahead ensures the option of donating your body to science. For more information about the Body Donor Program at DMU, call 515-271-1481.


Des Moines University is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, anatomy, biomedical sciences, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students’ pass rates on national examinations and board certifications are consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.

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