Billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert Smith was giving the commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday, when he deviated from his prepared remarks to make an announcement: “My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!”
“Everyone started crying and jumping for joy,” said a spokesperson for Smith, who asked not to be identified. “It was him speaking from his heart.”
It is hard to estimate the cost of Smith’s gift to the 2019 graduates of the all-male historically black college, but it could be in the range of US$5 million to US$10 million, according to estimates. There are 400 graduates in the class, and Morehouse costs about US$26,000 per year, his spokesperson said.
There was celebration at Morehouse as the grads and their parents processed the news.