The graduating class of Morehouse College was treated to quite the surprise at yesterday’s commencement ceremony.
According to CNN, Vista Holdings CEO and Founder, Robert F. Smith, led the Atlanta institution’s graduation proceedings with the promise of those seniors transitioning into their professional lives with absolute confidence, free of any debt to the school or a banking scheme. Smith pledged to pay off roughly $40 million in student loans for the class of 2019, the reaction to which was captured in a stageside (see below.)
In his address to the students, Smith insisted the graduates pay his generosity forward, adding “I want my class to look at these (alumni) — these beautiful Morehouse brothers — and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
The gesture adds to decades of advocacy and philanthropy. Smith’s Fund II Foundation offers grants for charities in five sectors: Preserving the cultural richness of the African-American experience, human rights, environmental conservation, musical education, and “sustaining the American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, innovation and security.”
Smith also joined Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon in receiving honorary degrees this morning.
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