Seniors at Morehouse College were surprised on Sunday when investor-billionaire Robert F. Smith announced in his opening speech that he would pay off student loan debt for graduates of the college. 39, University of Black.
"My family will create a grant to eliminate your student loans," he told new graduates in Atlanta.
The sum of more than 300 students is about $ 40 million, CNP spokeswoman Aileen Dodd told CNN.
Smith on Sunday also received an honorary degree with actress Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon.
The entrepreneur, founder of investment firm Vista Equity Partners, accounts for about $ 5 billion, according to Forbes.
Aged 56, he was a chemical engineer at Goodyear and Kraft before attending a business school. He worked for Goldman Sachs, specialized in technology investments, before creating Vista Equity in 2000.
Vista Equity invests only in software, data and technology companies and has $ 46 billion in capital commitments, the company's website says.
Smith has a fairly generous tendency. In 2016, Cornell University, one of its alma maters, renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the honor of the Austin, Texas, investor. after being pledged to pay $ 50 million to the school. He has also donated millions of dollars to cancer research and the arts.
Its Fund II Foundation awards grants under five pillars: preserving the African-American experience, protecting human rights, preserving the environment, providing music education and supporting "essential American values such as that the spirit of enterprise, "says the organization.
In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, an effort led by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to convince wealthy Americans to donate half of their fortune.
In signing this pledge, Smith said he would focus on causes that support equality for black Americans and the environment. His wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.
"I will never forget that parents, grandparents and generations of African-Americans, whose name I will never know, have paved the way," Smith said. "Their struggles, their courage and their progress have allowed me to struggle and succeed, my story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent upon us all to advance this legacy."