by Aaron Robinson
Class of 2011
October 12, 2007
We gather together today to celebrate and honor the lives of those people who graciously donated their bodies for the advancement of medicine. These people were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. They are surely missed. Though the passing of a loved one is never easy, comfort may be taken in the knowledge that through the generosity of these people thousands of lives will be saved, maybe even yours. The opportunity to learn from a real human body is laying the foundation for the rest of our medical careers. Just as the seaman lost in the fog seeks out the lighthouse, a physician looks to the knowledge of the human body gained from intense study of anatomy.
Learning from a cadaver is very different than learning from a book. Although you may learn the names of the same structures, there is no substitute for hands-on learning. I am deeply grateful for the selfless decision of these people, our first patients. Today I want to express to you the commitment of each person in the 2011 class of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine to honor the memory of your loved ones. As physicians we will treat each person to the best of our abilities, using the anatomical knowledge we have learned from each donor. The apostle Paul reminds us of a comforting truth in his epistle to the Corinthians: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Though death comes to all, there is hope of a brighter day. Lord Alfred Tennyson put it well in his poem, "Crossing the Bar". "Twilight and evening bell,And after that the dark!And may there be no sadness of farewell,When I embark; For tho' from out our borne of time and placeThe flood may bear me far,I hope to see my Pilot face to faceWhen I have crossed the bar."
I anticipate the day when I can meet those who have donated their bodies for my learning, my pilot and my beacon in my pursuit of medical knowledge. I will look them in the eye in that great day and thank them personally for their immense gift to me. Since today is not that day, I want to thank the families of each donor for their sacrifice. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude. That we may feel peace and closure this day as we reflect on the lives of those we honor is my prayer.
May God bless you.