JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi Medical Center is naming a building for Gov. Phil Bryant.
College Board trustees approved the plan Thursday morning.
Bearing Bryant's name will be on the university's recently opened medical school building in Jackson. The five-story, $76 million structure was officially opened in August, giving the university room to expand the number of physicians it trains.
University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said after the vote that Bryant should get credit for obtaining the money that financed the building's construction, including $10 million in federal community development money that was allotted to the project by his administration, and $66 million that he helped persuade lawmakers to borrow for the structure.
"If it were not for him, we would not have that building," Vitter said. He said some medical center leaders had proposed the idea and that college board trustees, mostly appointed by Bryant, warmed to it.
"This honor is incredibly humbling and unexpected, and I am so grateful," Bryant wrote on Twitter. The two-term Republican governor gave a speech at the building's opening hailing it as a key part of his legacy.
The medical school expanded to 155 first-year students in August when the 155,000 square-foot (14,400-square-meter) building was opened and will grow to 165 students per class in 2018. Medical center officials say they hope training more doctors can increase the number of physicians in the state by a thousand by 2025. Mississippi's doctor-to-resident ratio is the nation's worst.
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