Perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time and true “Home Run King” Hank Aaron and his wife Billye gave $3 million to the Morehouse School of Medicine to expand the Hugh Gloster Medical Education building and create the Billye Suber Aaron Student Pavilion.
The nationally-renowned medical school is scheduled to begin breaking ground on the Billye Suber Aaron Pavilion in January 2016, and the project will be the first part of a four-part expansion on its campus. The pavilion is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
“Like our family, MSM has a true commitment to the Georgia community,” Hank Aaron said. “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.”
Henry “Hank” Aaron forged his transcendent and legendary status with the Braves franchise of Major League Baseball (first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta) as the man who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714 — amid the most tumultuous of circumstances, including constant death threats — in the mid-1970’s. Aaron went on to finish his astounding all-around career with 755 home runs. He is also one of the all-time leaders in RBIs and is one of only four players in history to have more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs combined.
Billye Aaron was also a barrier breaker and history maker. She was the first African American woman in the Southeast to co-host a regular daily television talk show. She has since become an Atlanta leader in community service and philanthropy, focused on providing educational opportunities to African Americans, including founding the UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball, the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation and in 2014 chairing the Phenomenal Women Luncheon to honor Morehouse School of Medicine’s then newly-appointed president and dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., raising over $600,000 in scholarships for MSM students.
“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.”
Photo: courtesy of Morehouse School of Medicine