Robert Frederick Smith is an African-American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. A former chemical engineer and investment banker, he is the founder, chairman, and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. In 2018, Smith was ranked by Forbes as the 163rd richest person in America with US$5 billion net worth.
Robert F. Smith shocked the nearly 400 graduating students at Morehouse College on Sunday while delivering the commencement address.
He said he’ll wipe out the student debt for the entire 2019 graduating class, which is nearly $40m!
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who’ve been in this country, I’m going to put a little fuel in your bus. I’ve got the alumni over there, this is a challenge to you alumni. This is my class, 2019, and my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans,” he said.
He added: “I know my class will make sure they pay this forward, because we are enough to take care of our community.”
Smith is one of the billionaires – including Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet – to sign the Giving Pledge, committing to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.