Morehouse’s Class of 2019 got a surprise from billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith during his commencement speech to the graduating students.
Smith, the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, announced that his family was creating a grant to eliminate the student loan debt of the graduates, according to AJC.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans,” Smith said to nearly 400 graduating students who cheered when they heard the news. “I know my class will make sure they pay this forward…and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community.”
Smith, who has a net worth of $ 5 billion and received an honorary doctorate from the university, had already pledged $ 1.5 million to the university.
“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you get educated. Where you go to school shouldn’t determine whether you get textbooks,” Smith said. “The opportunity you access should be determined by the fierceness of your intellect, the courage in your creativity and the grit that allows you to overcome expectations that weren’t set high enough.”