The nearly 400 men graduating from Morehouse College this weekend got the surprise of a lifetime on Sunday afternoon, when billionaire Robert F. Smith stepped up to the stage to make his commencement address.
Instead of droning on for an hour or two as most commencement speakers tend to do this time of year, Smith got right down to the biggest point of the day: he’s going to pay off every single dime of the student loans of every single graduating senior at Morehouse! Incredible!!!
The billionaire businessman and tech investor made the announcement to a VERY excited crowd on Sunday, eventually receiving a standing ovation from the student body and their families for his generosity. His incredible gift trended on social media over the weekend, too, as people all over the world were stunned and inspired by his desire to help so many other people.
According to Forbes, Smith — who is the founder and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners — is the 355th richest person in the world. Local media in Atlanta reports that the total student loan debt cost he’ll pay off is roughly $40 million. WOW!!!
Smith revealed the news proudly to the historically black college and its all-male graduation class, telling them his family was creating a grant to eliminate every dime of debt! And the best part is that he expects nothing in return — only for the graduates to go out into the world and pay his generosity forward. So inspiring!
Smith said during the speech (below):
“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. My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans! … And this is my class. And I know my class will pay this forward.”
Not surprisingly, compliments for Smith came in from all corners of the world over this generous act — but it’s not about the recognition or self-congratulations, as he quickly pointed out in the speech. It’s about something far more important (below):
“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you get educated. Where you go to school shouldn’t determine whether you get textbooks. The opportunity you access should be determined by the fierceness of your intellect, the courage in your creativity and the grit that allows you to overcome expectations that weren’t set high enough.”
Amen! We love this guy!!!
Ch-ch-check out his full commencement speech — including the unprecedented student loan debt announcement — right here (below):
This is incredible!
Such an amazing feel-good story!
Congrats to all the Morehouse College grads this weekend, too — we can’t wait to see how you pay this forward!!!
[Image via YouTube]
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