What Robert Learned

Written by Anthony Douglas on 25 May 2019.

Established immediately after the US Civil War, Moorehouse College is a private university in Atlanta that for the last 150 years has been providing tertiary education to African Americans. Notable graduates include Martin Luther King (Snr and Jnr, if you were wondering!).

Last Sunday, the commencement speech was delivered by Robert F. Smith, a billionaire investor in technology companies, who was receiving an honorary doctorate. But you know, those honorary doctorates don’t require you to do any study.

WindfallWell, it turns out Robert has learned something over the years. During his speech, he announced his intention to pay off the student loans of each of the 396 students who were graduating this year. His gift of around $40 million dollars, as you can imagine, generated considerable joy!

But there were strings attached. He challenged them all to use their financial freedom to pass on their good fortune to others, by their choice of careers and how they looked after their communities. His family had benefited from the college over the decades, and now they were investing in the next generation.

Freed from debts that would have taken them decades to pay off, one new graduate declared himself inspired ‘to give back ... to give to people even more than I did before.’

Imagine what it would mean to be freed from a debt we could never ever pay back, the price paid by the one who owns us now twice over!

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