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Billionaire during commencement address: I'll pay off your student debt

Colin Campbell
Managing Editor

Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith earned some stunned looks on Sunday during his commencement address at Morehouse College.

He told the graduating students he'd pay off their student debt.

"On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country: We're going to put a little fuel in your bus," Smith sad.

He continued: "I've got the alumni over here. And this is a challenge to alumni. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans."

The class at the all-male, historically African-American college erupted into cheers. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., applauded the move and noted her father attended the Atlanta college.

"Wow," she tweeted. "What a love-power move by Robert Smith, I believe it’s the start of something major."

Tonga Releford, whose son Charles graduated on Sunday and who estimated his student loans totaled $70,000, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "I feel like it's Mother's Day all over again"

Smith earned an honorary doctorate from Morehouse during the ceremony.

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