Morehouse College commencement speaker pledges to pay class of 2019 student debt


Robert Smith speaks onstage as Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights hosts The 2015 Ripple Of Hope Awards honoring Congressman John Lewis, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Evercore Co-founder Roger Altman, and UNESCO Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis at New York Hilton on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for RFK Human Rights)

ATLANTA— A billionaire technology investor and philanthropist says his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College.

Robert F. Smith made the announcement Sunday morning in front of nearly 400 graduating seniors and elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

Smith received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse during the ceremony. He had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the pledge to eliminate the student debt for the class has been estimated at $40 million.

Morehouse College is an all-male historically black college located in Atlanta.

Smith is the Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology-driven companies.

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