Morehouse's commencement speaker shocks graduates by announcing he's paying off their loans

22 Mai, 2019, 16:30 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith speaks at a Morehouse event in Atlanta last year

It was a hot, sticky morning in Atlanta on Sunday when billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert Smith stood atop an outdoor stage on the campus of Morehouse College, and started delivering a speech that the almost 400 graduates probably thought would be the usual commencement fare.

The announcement was met with a standing ovation, the CNN reported.

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"And let's make sure every class has the same opportunities going forward". "We are enough to ensure that we have all the opportunities of the American dream".

In the weeks before graduating from Morehouse on Sunday, 22-year-old finance major Aaron Mitchom drew up a spreadsheet to calculate how long it would take him to pay back his $200,000 in student loans - 25 years at half his monthly salary, per his calculations. He described Smith's gesture "a liberation gift". "Where you go to school shouldn't determine whether you get textbooks", Smith said.

"[The grant] gives them the liberty to follow their dreams, their passions".

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Smith, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm, announced the creation of a foundation where technology genius will store the estimated $40M gift to pay off the loans of 400 graduating Morehouse seniors.

Robert F Smith made the announcement in front of almost 400 graduating seniors, unsurprisingly eliciting the biggest cheers of the morning. Last month, the MA senator Elizabeth Warren won widespread praise when she published a plan to cancel much student debt and make public college free, funded by a tax on the super rich. His mother made many sacrifices working minimum-wage jobs to provide for him and his eight siblings after Dormeus' father died when he was 5.

"It'll sink in as the years go on". "I still don't really have words". Rather than seek out people with Ivy League degrees or recruit top talent from Silicon Valley, Smith looks for skilled engineers and managers from other professions who might thrive inside his companies.

Smith is one of the billionaires - including Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet - to sign the Giving Pledge, committing to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. In May of this year, The Giving Pledge announced Smith had joined its ranks as the only African-American philanthropist. His wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.

According to Forbes, Smith is the wealthiest African American in the country with a net worth of $4.4 billion.

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