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BILLIONAIRE PHILANTHROPIST PLEDGES TO REPAY STUDENT LOANS FOR MOREHOUSE CLASS OF 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Robert Smith, a billionaire investor and philanthropist, announced during his commencement speech that he will pay off student loan debt for the entire Morehouse College class of 2019, an approximately $40 million pledge. Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners and is currently the wealthiest African-American man in the U.S. He has made past donations to Morehouse, as well as his alma mater Cornell University, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African-American History, and the United Negro College Fund. The Morehouse grant is his latest effort to support African-American culture and education and has spurred discussion about racial disparities in student debt loads.

In Other News

  • The Michigan Mobility Institute will partner with Detroit's Wayne State University to develop a masters of mobility program. The Mobility Institute is focused on preparing automotive engineers for ongoing changes in the auto industry, including electric-powered vehicles and automation.
  • Yeshiva University opened YU Innovation Lab at its Washington Heights campus. The lab will serve as an incubator for student entrepreneurs and Israeli start-ups exploring U.S. markets.
  • After receiving a $20 million investment, Creighton University will expand the Heider College of Business. In recent years, Creighton and other universities in the Midwest have been growing their business colleges to meet increased demand. Creighton's undergraduate business program has seen a 74% rise in enrollment in since 2010.
  • The University of Oklahoma has been stripped of its U.S. News & World Report ranking after providing incorrect information regarding alumni giving rates, which account for 5% of the "Best Colleges" rankings. The university acknowledged that it had been supplying incorrect data since 1999.
  • The soon-to-retire president of the University of South Florida, Judy Genshaft, and her husband, will donate $20 million to the university to establish a new honors college in her name. This is one of the largest pledges made by a college president to their own institution. Over the past five years, Genshaft has become one of the country's highest-paid college presidents.