The joy of college commencements tend to fade away once the reality of student loan debt hits. Morehouse College's Class of 2019 might not have to worry about that, though. Billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith, the ceremony's commencement speaker, promised to pay off the outgoing class' outstanding debt when he took the podium on Sunday.
"This is my class and I know my class will pay this forward," Smith—who was awarded an honorary doctorate from the institution—said after announcing his gift.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smith is expected to pay an estimated $40 million to free the nearly 400 graduating seniors from the grips of debt. In addition to the pledge, Smith donated an additional $1.5 million to the school itself.
The 56-year-old businessman is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. According to Forbes, Smith's investments in different technology software has generated him a net worth close to $5 billion, making him the wealthiest black person in America.