Morehouse College seniors got a surprise Sunday when billionaire investor Robert F. Smith announced during his commencement speech that he would pay off the student loan debt for the historically black college's graduating class.
It was one of the best graduation gifts you could ever imagine getting, and an investment in the future of Black America.
"On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we're gonna put a little fuel in your bus".
No surprise that his announcement drew big cheers from the almost 400 graduates, and the gift is estimated to be $40 million, 11Alive reported.
The billionaire had already pledged $1 million to Morehouse in January to create the Robert Frederick Smith Scholars Program and an additional $500,000 to design an outdoor study area for students.
"Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward", he continued.
The gift has been estimated at $40 million.
Smith studied chemical engineering at Cornell University and finance and marketing at Columbia Business School, according to Vista Equity Partners.
Unpaid student debt, which previous year stood at $1.5tn, has become a major national problem.
ToThe Washington Post in an interview, Smith said that he chose to become a little bit more public in his efforts to improve the African American experience in the United States after he witnessed the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. "So we celebrated every sign that the barriers of inequality were collapsing that the doors of opportunity were opening".
'Many of my students are interested in going into teaching, for example, but leave with an amount of student debt that makes that untenable, ' Thomas said in an interview. In a press release earlier this month, the Kansas-based group said Spelman College's "Women's Research and Resource Center of Spelman" is actually "more evidence does not seem necessary to demonstrate that this college is being grandly paid to produce perverts who aggressively strive to push others toward proud sin and down the path to hell".
Actress Angela Bassett also received an honorary degree along with Smith.
"True wealth comes from contributing to the liberation of people and the liberation of communities we come from depends upon grit and determination, and the greatness inside of you".