December 9, 2023

Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners was the commencement speaker for Morehouse’s class of 2019. During his commencement address, he pledged to the 400 graduating seniors that he would pay off the student loans for the entire class. In addition, he also promised a $1.5 Million donation to the school. As he stood at the podium speaking to the class he said: “This is my class, and I know my class will pay it forward”.

This is an amazing offer considering the $1.5 trillion dollar student loan debt that the country is carrying, and how student loan debt is adversely affecting the Black community.

Mr. Smith is a former chemical engineer and investment banker with degrees from Cornell University and Columbia Business School. He’s listed 163rd on the Forbes list of the worlds most wealthiest people having a total net worth of $4.4 billion. He’s also listed as the richest African American, surpassing Oprah Winfrey.


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