Commencement speaker and billionaire, Robert F. Smith informed Morehouse College’s graduating seniors that he would be paying off their student loans.
Robert F. Smith is the CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology driven companies. He announced at the end of his commencement speech to the class of 2019 that he and his family had established a grant that would pay off each graduate’s student loans, to the tune of an estimated $40 million.
“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. Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward. I want my class to look at these beautiful Morehouse brothers and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
The announcement was met with a standing ovation and chants of “MVP”. The students reportedly had no idea they’d be graduating debt-free. Class salutatorian, Robert James told CNN, “We’re looking at each other like, Is he being serious? That’s a lot of money.”