Graduates of Morehouse College’s 2019 class may have just heard the best thing anyone could hear upon graduation: your student loan debt is repaid.
Billionaire Robert F. Smith accepted an honorary doctorate at the HBCU on Sunday in Atlanta, and the commencement speaker surprised the nearly 400 seniors with the news.
Smith is the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a technology and software investment firm with more than $46 billion in cumulative capital commitments.
Smith announced his family would be creating a grant to wipe out student debt for every single member of the class of 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 said during the speech, seen in a snippet the college tweeted.
The gift is estimated to be worth $40 million. This is in addition to a separate $1.5 million gift he made to the school.
The reaction on social media was swift.
“Wow. What a love-power move by Robert Smith. I believe it’s the start of something major. I’m grateful for what Mr. Smith, who purchased my father’s birth home from the National Park Service, is doing for @Morehouse, which happens to be Daddy’s alma mater,” wrote Bernice King, daughter of revolutionary activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“I will follow his example 20 years from now!” one user stated.
“What a wonderful gift. 'To whom much is given, much is expected.' These men can fulfill their dreams without the albatross of student debt,” said another.