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The billionaire Robert F. Smith announced he would pay off the loans of nearly 400 graduates

The billionaire Robert F. Smith announced he would pay off the loans of nearly 400 graduates

GRATITUDE. The billionaire and philanthropist Robert F. Smith made a lot of happy this Sunday by announcing to early 400 graduates he would take care of their loans. 

By Marie Le Blé ...
Created : May. 19, 2019, 5:30 PM - Modified : May. 19, 2019, 7:12 PM

The students at Morehouse College certainly did not expect such a surprise. Robert F. Smith, the richest black man in America,
was giving the commencement address to the graduating class when he suddenly announced he would be paying off the student loans of the nearly 400 graduates.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!”, said the philanthropist.
On this sunny Sunday at the Atlanta campus, students remained speechless but soon, flying their hats, they erupted in cheers and disbelief in front of their family and the board just as astonished.

The discreet Mr. Smith, who until just a few years ago was practically unknown, has amassed a fortune that Forbes estimates to be worth $5 billion by founding Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on buying and selling software firms.

In the range of $40 million

The billionaire grew up in a mostly black, middle-class neighborhood in Denver and he went to college at Cornell, studying chemical engineering.

It’s hard to determine the cost of Mr. Smith’s gift to the 2019 graduates of the all-male historically black college, but it could be in the range of $40 million, according to estimates.

Smith’s announcement comes after he had already pledged $1.5 million to the school in part for student scholarships and new park on campus. 

Actress Angela Bassett also received an honorary degree in the ceremony.


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