Billionaire Robert Smith Expands $34 Million Morehouse Gift to Include Parent Debt

Robert F Smith Commencement Speech (Credit: YouTube)

Billionaire Robert F. Smith is giving even more to the Morehouse College family.

The businessman and philanthropist made headlines in May when he delivered the commencement address at the historically black school and offered to pay off student loan debt for the nearly 400 graduates.

Smith brought students to tears with his pledge. Now he’s extending the offer to include loans taken out by parents of the Class of 2019 to fund their children’s educations.

Related StoryBillionaire Robert F. Smith Pledges to Pay Off Morehouse Grads’ Debt

In a Sept. 20 press release about the new Morehouse College Student Success Program, the all-male school said Smith’s combined gift totals $34 million.

Morehouse College President David A. Thomas noted that the gift will be “life-changing” for students and their families, and he urged to the grads to give back as well.

“It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men,” Thomas said.

Smith is a Cornell grad, and has also made generous donations to his alma mater. He founded Vista Equity Partners, a software and technology investment firm. In 2018, Forbes listed him as the richest African-American in the U.S., with a net worth of $5 billion.