When the $350 million West Tower opens as the new front door to Summa Health’s City Hospital campus in 2019, a new women’s breast center on the ground floor will bear the name of a longtime Summa physician and his wife.

The Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Center for Breast Health, a 19,000-square-foot-facility, will bear the names of the Akron couple, both of whom were born and raised in the area.

Wednesday, Summa announced that the Williamses had given a record-setting $5 million gift to the hospital where Dr. Williams has spent 41 years of his career (45 years, if you count his surgical residency). Williams has served as the chief of the division of general surgery and former medical director of the Summa Health Breast Center. He is now semi-retired.

The couple’s gift is the second-largest in Summa’s history, the largest physician-donated gift to Summa and is believed to be the largest physician gift in Summit County. Akron philanthropists and entrepreneurs Ann and David Brennan are the largest Summa donors, having given a total of $10 million, including a gift in 2015 of $6 million.

Last year, the Williamses donated $3 million to the University of Akron, where they met. UA named the Honor College in honor of the 1968 graduates.

In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Dr. Williams said he and his wife of 48 years “were thinking about something we could do at Summa where I’ve been for so long.

“It was fortuitous that the tower was going to be built and there was going to be a breast center on the first floor. I thought it would be something we’d be happy to do,” Williams said. Pamela Williams was a lifelong educator, having taught and tutored in Akron Public Schools, Cuyahoga Falls and Worthington schools. She is also an active volunteer, serving with numerous organizations, including the American Red Cross, United Way of Summit County and the Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation.

Pamela Williams has been deployed by the local Red Cross to disasters and recently returned from serving in Florida after the hurricanes, her husband said.

Dr. Cliff Deveny, Summa’s interim CEO, said it is fitting that the health system was able to make the announcement of the Williamses’ gift on a day when it also was reviewing the progress of the West Tower.

“The Williamses’ generosity serves as a literal cornerstone in our construction of the new West Tower,” Deveny said.

Dr. Williams’ influence among the medical staff is also great, said Dr. John Zografakis, president of the medical staff.

“Anytime I have a procedure, even to this day, I still hear Dr. Williams in the back of my head saying ‘do this, don’t do this, make sure you do that. ‘People don’t consult textbooks; they consult Dr. Williams. He is Summa Health,” Zografakis said.

In his tenure at Summa, hospital officials said Williams was the driving force behind the creation of the multidisciplinary, coordinated breast health services.

Williams said the program is patient-centered and provides a patient an opportunity to see a surgeon as quickly as possible if an abnormality is found.

The Williams Center, with locations at both the Akron and Barberton campuses, will feature outpatient breast services consolidated in one area, one-stop patient access for any breast concern and a spa-like atmosphere focused on wellness.

Williams said he hopes the $5 million gift, which is unrestricted, will be used for a variety of things ,from specialized equipment to staff and programs to keep the staff up to date.

“I’m hoping it will provide good care to the women — and men — of Akron and their breast care for years to come,” Williams said.

The new six-story West Tower will feature private patient rooms; expanded surgery suites and patient prep and recovery rooms; two floors dedicated to women’s health; a breast center; a multipurpose conference center; a large, covered canopy area for drop-off with dedicated valet services; and a bridge to the adjoining Adolph Street parking garage.

The new building will serve as Summa’s new primary entrance for the hospital, now on Arch Street. The West Tower entrance will be off Forge Street. Traffic from Market Street would drive north on Fountain Street to Forge. The new tower will be visible from state Route 8.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty