It's no secret that students graduating in 2019 will face years of student debt and their first years in the fulltime job market will be saddled with debt. But for the Morehouse College 2019 graduating class that worry is now alleviated thanks to the generosity of the class' commencement speaker, billionaire Robert Smith. Smith surprised the class by saying he will be paying off their entire student loan debt - upwards of $40 million for the entire class.
"My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans," Smith told the crowd today. "You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity."
"When Dr. King said that the 'arc of the moral universe bends toward justice,' he wasn't saying it bends on its own accord. It bends because we choose to put our shoulders into it together and push," Smith told the class.
Wow! Billionaire Robert F. Smith surprises @Morehouse graduates by announcing this morning his family will eliminate the student debt of the entire class of 2019 with a grant. #PayItForward #HBCU pic.twitter.com/BPEDBdqryu— Marcus Smith (@MarcusSmithKTLA) May 19, 2019
“You are responsible for building strong, safe places where our young brothers and sisters can grow with confidence, watch and learn from positive role models, and believe that, they too, are entitled to the American Dream," Smith added.
One mother whose son's student loans total more than $70,000 told local media that, she felt "like it’s Mother’s Day all over again."
According to Fox News, "Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data and technology-driven companies. He is a graduate of Cornell and Columbia Business School."