A Noble Decision

Donors who give their consent benefit by something so much bigger than themselves; a gift will leave a lasting impression upon the education and careers of students in health care education and biological health sciences at Elon University. The benefit to Elon University students will be passed on to their patients through the healing and comfort they may provide because of the donors’ contributions. We cannot say thank you enough for this uniquely enriching experience. We are eternally grateful for the noble decision to donate. We are deeply indebted to our generous teachers.

Why Donate?

Dissection and study of the human body constitutes an invaluable and indispensable part of health care education. Each year at Elon University bodies are needed for the teaching of undergraduate biology, graduate programs in physical therapy (DPT) and physician assistant curricula (PA). The principal source of bodies is private donation. The need for donations is great and the gift is highly valued and honored. Choosing to donate your body for the purpose of healthcare education and research is a supremely compassionate and altruistic humanitarian gesture. With this priceless gift, you can provide an unprecedented legacy of learning and a foundation for the education and training of healthcare professionals.

How to Donate

Any competent person 18 or older can arrange to donate his/her body for educational purposes. Consistent with the North Carolina Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, donations may be made by completing and submitting Elon University’s donor consent forms.


A complete Anatomical Gift Program Donor Registration Packet may be obtained by calling 336-278-6564 or emailing dperson@elon.edu. Once the complete set of donor registration documents have been received, they will be processed and the donor registrant will receive two donor wallet cards and a letter of confirmation. The donor registrant’s name will be added to our donor registry and the executed documents will be kept in a secured file in the Anatomical Gift Program office at Elon University.

Important Considerations

Anatomical donation is a benevolent gift that benefits the lives of future generations. Questions regarding the religious considerations of anatomical donation should be directed toward your spiritual advisor. While we acknowledge the importance of organ and tissue donation, a body from which organs (other than the corneas of the eyes) have been removed cannot be accepted by the Anatomical Gift Program.

If you change your mind and no longer wish to donate your body to the Anatomical Gift Program, simply provide us with a signed, written notice that you wish to revoke your donation and we will remove your name from the donor registry. If you relocate out of North Carolina, or if you have recently moved to North Carolina after having registered with another anatomical gift program, you may wish to update your registration by withdrawing your donation to the original program and bequeathing your donation to a local institution.

Anatomical donors will not be available for traditional funeral services. A donor’s family may hold a memorial or a religious service at their convenience without the body present. Arrangements and costs for such services are the responsibility of the family and in their discretion. Upon completion of studies, the anatomical donor will be cremated and the ashes will be made available to be returned to the family.

Respect for the Donor

Choosing to donate one’s body for the advancement of healthcare education is a charitable and compassionate decision. You are encouraged to discuss your donation plans with your family, clergy, physician, hospital, and/or nursing staff. At Elon University’s Anatomical Gift Program, we take pride in the respect, reverence and compassion expressed to our donors and their families. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for you and your family to meet with our staff and discuss the Anatomical Gift Program. We will answer questions and guide you through the process step by step. We want to assure you and your family that oversight is provided from the moment an individual may register with us until, and sometimes beyond, final disposition.

Alternate Arrangements

We cannot guarantee acceptance of a willed or donated body and acceptance of an anatomical Gift is contingent upon the decision of the Anatomical Gift Program at the time of death of the registered donor. We may be unable to accept a donated body for any number of reasons, including but not limited to the following:

  • Organs or parts (other than the corneas of the eyes) have been removed at or following the time of death, such as for transplantation or in an autopsy;
  • Decomposition of the body prior to embalming;
  • Severe trauma, such as death from drowning, burning, homicide, or motor vehicle accident;
  • Deep wounds;
  • Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, COVID-19 or a Prion disease;
  • The individual is morbidly obese as determined by the Anatomical Gift Program; and
  • The condition or pathology of the remains precludes safe preparation, storage, or study.

ELON UNIVERSITY’S ANATOMICAL GIFT PROGRAM RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DECLINE A DONATION. Although most anatomical donations are accepted at the time of death, a donor or family should plan alternative arrangements in the event a donation must be declined.