Billionaire Robert Smith announced last week that he would pay off the student debts for the Morehouse College graduating class of 2019, a class that includes the son of Dean Essick Allen.
Smith was the commencement speaker at its recent graduation ceremony, when he announced he would pay off the student loan debt of the graduates.
“It came as a shock to all of us present at the ceremony, I can recall seeing a few students crying out of joy because once you get your degree and credentials to work in the field within it, you start preparing to pay off those debts, which usually take years to complete,” said Dean Allen.
According to close relatives, “Many of us assumed you would need an application for this sort of thing, but no it was real and not just your regular fantasy.”
Based on this experience, Allen noted the impact of historically black colleges/universities, and how they’ve shaped the progress of the black community in terms of educational, economical, social, and political purposes.
“This wouldn’t happen at UCLA would it? Now that’s the distinction between how giving back to your community no matter what, with nothing holding you back from doing so,” he said.
Known for his philanthropic and investment efforts to organizations that serve under-represented communities, especially those for people of color, Robert F. Smith has a net worth of $5 billion, and is among the group of Forbes’ individuals who rose up from humble beginnings. He has founded his own private equity and venture capital firm, Vista Equity Partners, which serves to assist individuals in times of need.