Graduation speaker pledges to pay Morehouse class of 2019 student debt

Billionaire technology investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith announces he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Billionaire technology investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith announces he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Sunday, May 19, 2019. –Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

ATLANTA (AP) — A billionaire technology investor and philanthropist says his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College.

Robert F. Smith made the announcement Sunday morning in front of nearly 400 graduating seniors and elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

Smith received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse during the ceremony. He had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the pledge to eliminate the student debt for the class has been estimated at $40 million.

Morehouse College is an all-male historically black college located in Atlanta.

Smith is the Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in software, data, and technology-driven companies.