By: Cadence Wright
A man named Robert F. Smith spoke at Morehouse College’s 2019 Graduation. A lot of the students probably didn’t even know who he was when he walked up to the microphone. They probably thought he was just another man who was going to tell them how to be successful in life like all the other people do who speak at graduations. They had no idea Mr. Smith was a billionaire. They really didn’t expect him to announce he is paying off all student loan debts for every graduating student in the 2019 class. When he announced it they couldn’t believe it. They were in shock. I know I would be too.
Forbes magazine says Robert F. Smith is worth $5B. That is a lot of money. He got it from investing in different companies. Most people didn’t even know there was a Black person in America that rich. We know Oprah is rich. We know Beyonce and Jay-Z are rich. My daddy said the man who started BET, Robert Johnson, is a billionaire too but Forbes says Robert F. Smith isn’t just a billionaire. He is worth $5 Billion! It’s hard just getting one billion and this man has five! The graduates didn’t know who he was when he got up to speak but I bet they will never forget his name from now on.
I know a little bit about Morehouse College because my dad talks about HBCU’s all the time. He says Morehouse is like the Harvard of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Spike Lee went to Morehouse and so did Samuel L. Jackson. A lot of great business people went there too. I thought about going until I found out it was an all boys school. I don’t think I want to spend four years looking at dudes all day. So, I crossed Morehouse off my list until my dad told me about Spelman. It’s on the opposite side of the campus from Morehouse. That’s where all the girls go. Morehouse and Spelman are like a big family and they work together a lot since they are so close to each other. Now, that’s at least a little better!
So many people leave college and it takes years for them to get ahead in life because it takes so long to pay back the student loans. It cost $28k per year to go to Morehouse. That’s like five times what it cost to go to Southern or Grambling. If a kid goes to Morehouse he better not make anything lower than a B or his mama is going to be mad. You can’t play in class at a school that cost that much to go to. There were 400 students in Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class. That means Robert F. Smith will have to pay almost $40M to pay off all that debt for them. If the man has $5B then $40M for him is like $100 for the average person. He probably throws that much away on a weekend vacation.
His donation is said to be the largest single donation to a university in American history. Imagine if everyone who is rich would reach back and help students out the way this man did. A whole lot of people could get further in life much faster if they didn’t have to spend 20 years paying off debts. A lot of athletes and rappers are rich. They may not be able to do a whole college class but they all should help pay for some of the students. If you have a lot of money it makes sense to do something good with it. Oprah started a school in Africa. Lebron James started a school in the United States. Chance the Rapper gave a million dollars to Chicago Public Schools. Dwayne Wade bought a whole block and made a youth center for his mother to run in Chicago. Not everybody is a billionaire but we can all do our little part to make the world better.