Philanthropist Robert Smith Surprises Morehouse Grads with Grant Announcement

My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans!

Robert F. Smith, one of the most prominent and successful investors of the 21st century, was the commencement speaker at [ UNCF-member institution] Morehouse College‘s 135th graduation ceremony, on May 19. During his speech, Smith stunned the graduates, families and faculty with a surprising announcement.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith announced to the 396 graduates of the class of 2019.

“Between doubt and destiny is action. Between our community and the American Dream is leadership,” Smith told the audience.

Smith is a long-time proponent of educational opportunities for African American students. His Fund II Foundation is focused on improving lives and opportunities for African American and other vulnerable populations. The Foundation underwrites UNCF’s Fund II STEM Scholars Program. Smith recently matched $1 million of funds raised during UNCF’s 75th anniversary gala.

Smith’s firm, Vista Equity Partners, which he founded in 2000 and built into a billion-dollar enterprise, is an international leader in software and technology investments that currently manages equity capital commitments of more than $46 billion and oversees a portfolio of more than 50 software companies employing 60,000 people worldwide.