Hank and Billye Aaron give $3 million to Morehouse medical school

Baseball legend Hank Aaron and his wife Billye Suber Aaron are donating $3 million to Morehouse School of Medicine as part of an expansion of academic facilities at the Atlanta institution.

The gift will fund an expansion of the Hugh Gloster Medical Education building and creation of the Billye Suber Aaron Student Pavilion.

The Aarons’ gift was presented this week during the school’s 40th anniversary and 31st fall convocation, white coat and pinning ceremony. The 159 participating students made up the medical school’s largest first-year class. There are a total of 458 students at the school.

“Like our family, MSM has a true commitment to the Georgia community,” Hank Aaron said Friday. “We are happy to partner in creating a facility that welcomes and educates the next generation of doctors, health care professionals and leaders for the communities we hold so dear. It is fitting that the pavilion holds my wife’s name because of her long-held commitment to education and this dedicated school’s special place in her heart.”

The Aarons live in southwest Atlanta.

Class sizes have increased at the school in recent years, so the pavilion will provide much needed space for students, officials said. The medical school plans to break ground on the Aaron pavilion in January, and it is scheduled to be complete by 2017. The school has a $96 million endowment, officials said.

“This exceptionally generous gift is an enduring legacy of two people who clearly care about the future of medicine, science and the health and wellness of the Georgia community and the nation,” said President and Dean Montgomery Rice. “Recruiting and retaining world-class faculty, ensuring cutting-edge resources for our students and providing quality health care to our patients solidifies our presence for future generations. We thank the Aarons for the confidence of this gift and applaud their ongoing commitment to community. ”