"My family is going to create a scholarship to eliminate your student loans," he told graduates graduates in Atlanta.
The announcement – where Smith encouraged the candidates to keep up with it in the future – was faced with standing ovation and chants of "MVP!"
The sum of the 396 students gives up to about $ 40 million, said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. He called Smith's gesture "a gift of liberation".
"When you have to serve debt, the choices about what you can do are limited in the world," he said. "(Smith's gift) gives them the freedom to follow their dreams, their passions."
Students say they are overwhelmed with gratitude
Students could not believe in the ears when Smith made the announcement, three candidates of the high school told CNN.
"It will sink in as the years go on. I know it for a fact, "he said." I still don't have words. "It makes a great day just so much better."
Epps said he has about $ 35,000 in student loan debt as his parents in Pleasanton, California He had promised to help him pay off. He could not wait to break the news, he said.
In addition to the 22-year-old New York's own $ 90,000 debt, he said his mother took out a loan to
"All her servant, all her giving was not in vain," said Dormeus when asked what Smith's gift meant to his family.
Smith has made many other charitable donations
Their blessings also received an honorary degree on Sunday, along with actress Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon.
The entrepreneur, the founder of the investment company Vista Equity Partners, is worth about $ 5 billion, according to Forbes.
The 56-year-old was a chemical engineer for Goodyear and Kraft before attending business school. He worked for Goldman Sachs, who specializes in technology investments, before Vista Equity started in 2000.
Vista Equity invests solely in software, data and technology businesses and has $ 46 billion capital commitments, the company's website says.
Smith has quite a generous stripe. In 2016, Cornell University, one of its alma matrics, referred to its chemical and biomolecular engineering school in honor of investor Austin, Texas after he had committed to donating $ 50 million to the school. He has also donated millions to cancer research and art.
His Fund II Fund provides scholarships under five columns: conservation of African-American experience, safeguarding human rights, conservation of the environment, teaching music and maintaining "critical US values such as entrepreneurialism", the organization said.
In 2017, Smith signed Giving Pledge, an attempt spat of billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to convince wealthy Americans to give away half of their fortunes.
Upon signing the promise, Smith said he would focus on reasons that support equality for black Americans and the environment. His wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.
"I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African Americans whose names I will never know," Smith said. "Their struggle, their courage and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve. My story would only be possible in America, and it is required of us all to pay this legacy forward."