Happy graduation, indeed! When billionaire investor Robert F. Smith took the stage to deliver Morehouse College’s commencement address on Sunday, graduating seniors walked away with more than a diploma and some inspiring well-wishes sending them into the next chapter of their lives. Smith made a life-changing promise – he will pay the student loan debt for the entire graduating class!
"On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we're going to put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans. I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” he said to a roaring crowd, adding, "I know my class will make sure they pay this forward, and I want my class to look at these alumni – these beautiful Morehouse brothers – and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American Dream.”
“You cannot have witnessed the history I have, or walked the halls of Morehouse as you have, without profound respect for those who, generation after generation…nudged, shoved, & ultimately bent that ‘arc of the moral universe’ closer to justice.” @RFS_Vista #MorehouseGrad2019 pic.twitter.com/LHr0N5mqty— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) May 19, 2019
Forbes lists Smith’s net worth at approximately $5 billion. He has a strong record of philanthropic efforts, including signing the Giving Pledge, “a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.”
The Associated Press estimates Smith’s student loan gift is worth $40 million! This isn’t his first donation to the historically black college in Atlanta. Smith previously gave a $1.5 million gift to Morehouse.
In addition to Smith’s generous surprise, Morehouse received a visit from an Oscar-nominated legend. Angela Bassett received her honorary doctorate at the same ceremony. “My heart is full!” the “Black Panther” actress wrote.
What a special day for Morehouse!