The University of Mississippi announced Thursday that its new medical school building in Jackson would be named in honor of Gov. Phil Bryant.
The 151,000-square-foot building, officially called the Phil Bryant Medical Education Building, was completed in August at a cost of $76 million.
“This honor is incredibly humbling and unexpected, and I am so grateful,” Bryant said in a press release from the university. “I will continue to serve the university and its medical community in every way possible in order to be deserving of this distinction.”
The university calls the governor “instrumental” in securing funding for the project, which included $10 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding and $66 million in state bonds.
“Gov. Bryant has worked tirelessly over many years to ensure that the new medical education building would become a reality,” said Jeffrey Vitter, university chancellor, in the press release. “He recognized the vital need to train additional doctors as well as the tremendous impact this medical school will continue to have upon our state for generations to come.”
The new building, which allows the university to increase class size, is part of the state’s plan to address the physician shortage. At roughly 185 doctors per 100,000 residents, Mississippi is the most medically under-served state in the nation. In the last year, entering class size has increase from approximately 145 students to 155 and will eventually top off at approximately 165, the size considered necessary to meet the goal of 1,000 additional physicians by 2025.
“It is my hope that this wonderful new facility will help grow and sustain our ability to provide the best health care possible for the people of Mississippi,” Bryant said in a statement.