Morehouse Commencement Speaker Robert F. Smith Promises To Pay Off Student Loan Debt For School's 2019 Class

Talk about a graduation gift.

Photo credit:Twitter/@Morehouse

| May 19 2019,

4:50 pm

Recent Morehouse grads are free to change the world after receiving a generous gift from one of America's greatest Black businessmen.

After giving a rousing commencement speech Sunday at the storied HBCU, Robert F. Smith promised to pay off the student loan debt of colleges's 2019 graduates.  

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the gift is worth approximately $40 million. Smith made his billions finding and serving as CEO of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. As the 163rd richest person in the country, his kind gesture passes on his good fortune by making the lives of recent grads' life easier.

"When Dr. King said that the 'arc of the moral universe bends toward justice,' he wasn't saying it bends on its own accord. It bends because we choose to put our shoulders into it together and push," Smith said during the speech Sunday morning.

He urged the graduating Morehouse men to embrace the fourth industrial revolution: technology. While invoking the history of the college, he also instructed the young men to continue the strong legacy of the school by doing good works. 

“This degree you’ve earned is a social contract to devote your talents and energies to honoring those legends on whose shoulders we stand. You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity.”

Smith was joined by Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett and famed psychologist Edmund W. Gordon. All three received honorary doctorates for their lifetime achievements in their respective fields.

The billionaire has always been dedicated to giving back. He donated to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and was the only Black business leader to sign "The Giving Pledge," an initiative created by Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. The philanthropist is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Business School. Since founding Vista Equity Partners in 2000, the company has racked up more than $46 billion in commitments and oversees a portfolio of 50 software companies.