Billionaire Robert Smith, commencement speaker at Morehouse, pledges to pay off graduating class’ student loans

Robert Smith
Robert Smith at Morehouse graduation, 2019
Robert Smith delivering the commencement at the Morehouse graduation in Atlanta, May 19, 2019.

Billionaire Robert Smith served as the keynote speaker today (May 19) at Morehouse College’s commencement ceremony for the graduating class of 2019.

In a shock to graduates, Smith announced he and his family would be creating a grant to pay off the student of all those graduating, “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.”

WXIA-TV quotes Smith as saying, “You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity.”

According to CNN, Smith’s grant will cover an estimated $40 million in loans. The generous gift represents finanical freedom for the almost 400 students in the class of 2019, and is an opportunity for graduates to take full advantage of their diplomas as they kick off their professional careers without the burden of tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt.

Robert F. Smith is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in tech companies. He is a graduate of Cornell and Columbia Business School.

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