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Billionaire Robert F. Smith pays off student loan debt for Morehouse College graduates

By N'dea Yancey-Bragg

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Robert F. Smith

(USA TODAY) — Investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith surprised the Morehouse College class of 2019 with a special graduation gift: He’s going to pay all of their student loan debt.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!” Smith told the graduates during his commencement address. “You great Morehouse men are bound only by the limits of your own conviction and creativity.”

His gift to the nearly 400 graduating seniors is about $40 million, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Billionaire Robert F Smith Pays off Morehouse graduates student loans 

“If I could do a backflip, I would. I am deeply ecstatic,” Elijah Dormeus, a business administration major from Harlem in New York City who has $90,000 in student loan debt, told the Journal-Constitution.

Smith, founder of private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners, is worth about $5 billion, according to Forbes. He was the wealthiest African American in the country in 2018.

He is the only African American to sign the Giving Pledge, the initiative created by billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet in 2010 to “help address society’s most pressing problems” by shifting “the social norms of philanthropy toward giving more, giving sooner and giving smarter.”

He pledged to give away half his net worth to causes that support equality for African Americans and protect the environment.

“I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African Americans whose names I will never know,” he wrote. “Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve.”

The billionaire had already pledged $1 million to Morehouse in January to create the Robert Frederick Smith Scholars Program and an additional $500,000 to design an outdoor study area for students.

“Robert F. Smith’s donation of $1 million for student scholarships will have a profound impact on the lives of deserving young men who have the desire to attend Morehouse College, but lack the resources,” Morehouse President David A. Thomas said in a statement. “We appreciate his generosity and his investment in a generation of students who will follow in his footsteps as global leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Sunday, Smith received an honorary degree from the college alongside Academy Award-nominated actress Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon, a professor emeritus at Yale and Columbia universities.

Morehouse is a historically black college for men, according to the school’s website, that has produced alumni including Shelton “Spike” Lee, Martin Luther King Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Herman Cain.

Contributing: David Carrig, USA TODAY

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2 comments

  1. Everything is going according to plan.

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  2. 05/20/2019
    I Proclaim on the rooftop that the “King is coming”! I announce to the ends of the earth, that the “King is coming”. And that the days of Noah are here. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord and make straight his paths.” Tell all the world that I am coming back soon. “I am coming for those who have laid their burdens down”. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
    The father says: It is time for my will to come alive with perfect timing in your life. You will be set ablaze as you are given the perfection of my desire. What you consider breakthrough is merely perfect timing. And now that you are prepared, it is the perfect timing to fulfill my desire. Dreams from long ago will be revealed and ignited, they will leap to life as I send them all consuming fire. Angels have been dispatched and sent with gifts, lifestyle changes will be seen, dashed hopes will be rekindled, emotional prisons will be burned down in the fire of my life-giving gift. You will look back and say, I thought I would never see this day. Dreams and visions laid on the alter that you thought had blown away will leap to life and dance with life before me.
    This is what I say to you, in me nothing is wasted, every death you have endured for my name sake will leap to life and bear fruit. Although they had great purpose, your years of security are over. Everyone deserves their time on the backside of the mountain, to learn, to hear my voice, to come to terms with their calling. To overcome their calling, learn humility, be fitted with their mantle and receive my anointing. Being separate from others is not the same as being alone. You are one but not the other. The validation you once sought from man is of no consequence for you receive that in my presence. You have been called out from among them and that is why you stand out. But it is now your time to shine, what was once your shameful rejection is now your strength in your comfort zone, filled with the rich and deeply resonating comfort of my fellowship.
    Did I not say the day would come when those who despise you would come to admire you? Did I not promised that your shame would be my glory and they would praise me because of you? And did I not say that those who once rejected you would greatly want that I have given you? Like I once used them to horned you into the sharp blade that you are, I will now use that blade to pierce their hearts and they will yearn for my presence as they stand in yours, in the end, all will hear my voice. And that has always been my purpose. What is the difference between prayer and conversation? You have known prayer, now you will know conversation. Just as the saying “tinkling bells and clinging symbols”, there is a difference between prayer and conversation.
    * These are the words of – Yahushua Hamashiach.
    Do you know him, he knows you? Repent; be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, those of you who have not done so, for when the books are closed, no one will be able to enter in. God is sending warnings after warnings. We are in the End Times and he does not want ANYONE to Perish. Time is running out, get saved now while you have time. He is the only way to salvation. Amend your ways and you will be allowed to remain in the land. Let those who have ears to hear and those who have eyes to see. Repent now! Remain strong, bold, courageous and steadfast in your faith.
    Credit to Brother Shomrim Ben Yahshua for my references, may God bless you my, brother.

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