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Morehouse College Commencement Speaker Says He Will Pay Off Entire Graduating Class’ Student Loans

During his commencement address at Morehouse College on Sunday, billionaire Robert F. Smith announced that he would be paying off the entire graduating class’ student debt. Smith is chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm. He had already pledged a $1.5 million gift to the school earlier this year but said during his speech that his family would also be providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the nearly 430 graduating seniors. The surprise announcement elicited huge cheers from the crowd. Morehouse, a historically black all-male private liberal arts school in Atlanta, Georgia, had some students graduating with upward of $70,000 debt. Smith’s gift is estimated to total $40 million. “This is my class,” he said after the announcement, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”