The Morehouse School of Medicine cut the ribbon on the new Billye Suber Aaron Pavilion Tuesday, officially marking a $3 million donation by her husband, baseball legend Hank Aaron.
Aside from the Aaron donation, the two-story addition to the Hugh M. Gloster Building was also funded by a $3 million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation.
The Aaron Pavilion is part of Phase I in the school’s four phase “Expansion into the Future Initiative,” which includes renovations to expand class sizes, increased technological resources and multidisciplinary learning spaces.
“It’s indescribable. It’s just absolutely mind boggling to see my name on a building,” Billye Aaron said at the opening of the facility. “This is something I never dreamed. I never dreamed that something like this could happen.”
The Aarons are longtime supporters of the medical school, founded in 1975 to train black doctors. A year earlier, as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Hank Aaron blasted his 715th homerun, surpassing Babe Ruth for the all-time lead.
In March, the Atlanta Braves unveiled a nine-foot tall statue of Hank Aaron at the new SunTrust Park.
“I hope it will contribute to whatever their studies are, whatever their dreams are in terms of getting their education in medicine, and having a place to relax and communicate with each other and enjoy the fruits of the labor here,” Billye Aaron added.
The new facility was designed to be the most visible building on campus with its glass façade. It also features an open-air rooftop space, meeting rooms and informal gathering spaces.
But Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, said the pavilion is more than just brick and mortar.
“It is the conduit for our faculty to engage our students and impart upon them wisdom,” Rice said. “It will be the grounds by which friendships are forged and lifelong colleagues are brought arm in arm to dare to make a difference.”
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