Category: Physical Therapy

Female student leads presentation at a podium on stage
Jennifer Luby, a physical therapy student, serves on the Service of Gratitude Committee and led one of the speeches for the 2023 Service of Gratitude.

2023 Service of Gratitude

July 03, 2023 Written by Colin Heffinger | Photos by Brie Rivera

To show appreciation for anatomical donors who dedicated their bodies to science over the past school year, the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences hosted its 2023 Anatomical Donor Service of Gratitude in the Audion of STAR Tower. Students from the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program used this space to show how grateful they are to families of donors who have given the generous gift of directly learning anatomy.

The event was attended by students, faculty, and staff at CHS, as well as families related to the twenty donors. These donors are typically referred to as “silent teachers” through their contributions to the development of future healthcare leaders in the lab.

This year’s welcome speech was led by Charles Buz Swanik, deputy dean for CHS. Opening remarks were provided by David Ebaugh, director of the Human Anatomy Lab, followed by physical therapy student presentations from Danika Drugge, Jennifer Luby, and Trysha Ortega. Each speaker contributed reflections concerning the importance of their experience working with the donors and the impact their gift will have, even beyond the students of UD.

Jennifer Luby, a physical therapy student who led one of the student presentations and serves as a member of the Service of Gratitude Committee, explained what made this year’s event unique.

“This year, we opened the floor for donor families to come up and light a candle for their family member,” Luby said. “We also allowed the option to speak if they wished. One of the families talked about their mother’s role in their life and another shared a poem from their father.”

Dozens of people in a lunch area talking
Attendees gathered for a reception in the Health Sciences Complex building following the Service of Gratitude ceremony.

After donors were honored with their names stated and candles lit, all attendees concluded the event by exploring the Memorial Labyrinth and connecting at a following reception.

“Feedback from the families was very positive this year,” Luby continued. “Families were engaged and stated how having the opportunity to speak was so impactful for their visit. Seeing this come full circle from the anatomy lab to meeting the donor families is incredible.”


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