Imagine sitting at your graduation ceremony after four years (or more) of college, with many more years of paying off student loans to come, and the commencement speaker onstage drops the mic by basically saying, “Don’t worry. I got you.” That’s exactly what happened
last week at Morehouse College, when billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith — Forbes
named him 2019’s richest African American in the United States — announced that he’d pay off the debt of the ENTIRE graduating class. That means the loans of 396 seniors, estimated at a combined total of $40 million, will be covered by Smith. Like, what!?!?! How crazy, yet beautiful, is that? “To be able to enter the workforce debt-free is a dream I couldn’t have imagined for myself,” said Corey Smith, a Morehouse Class of 2019 graduate. “Especially being in my fifth year, there were more loans I had to take out just to ensure that I was able to walk.” You can debate all you want about whether Smith’s incredible gesture is “fair to families who saved
,” as the fact of the matter is the personal investment that Smith is placing in each student is invaluable. It’s a moment, and reality, that every single one of these men will eventually share with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to come. To Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class — do your thing in the real world. And to Mr. Robert F. Smith — salute.