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Graduation speaker pledges to pay class of 2019 student debt

Last Updated May 19, 2019 at 3:16 pm MDT

Robert F. Smith, left, laughs with David Thomas, center, and actress Angela Bassett at Morehouse College on Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Atlanta. Smith, a billionaire technology investor and philanthropist, said he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College - an estimated $40 million. Smith, this year's commencement speaker, made the announcement Sunday morning while addressing nearly 400 graduating seniors of the all-male historically black college in Atlanta. (Bo Emerson/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

ATLANTA — 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.

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

The Associated Press