Morehouse College graduates on Sunday, May 19, 2019, would have never thought how unique, powerful and path breaking their graduation would end up being.
Billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith, an alumnus of the college, stood on the stage and declared that his family would create a grant to eliminate the student loans of the entire graduation class.
“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!”
Smith is the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm. Morehouse College is a private all male, historically a black college in Atlanta, US. The college is one of the few remaining traditional men’s liberal arts colleges in the United States.
The grads and their families were left speechless for a moment, before the realisation and gravity of the situation jolted them to happiness and sheer excitement.
There were shuts of disbelief as emotions took over the crowd that consisted of students, parents, past alumni and more.
As of now, it’s difficult to estimate what the cost of the loan payoff would mean to the billionaire, but his gesture will go down in the history of the college as a unique and selfless example.
The audience exploded in chants for him as soon as he announced the grant.
Apart from the announcement, he also urged his fellow alumni to come forward and be a part of this movement and take it forward for future classes.
“Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” said Smith, who received an honorary doctoral degree too. “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, 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.”