One year ago, Robert Smith, the wealthiest African-American, stunned the nation by pledging to pay off the student loans of the 2019 class of Morehouse College. While giving his commencement speech at the graduation ceremony of the historically black all-male college, Smith also issued a challenge.
“I’ve got the alumni over there and this is a challenge to you alumni,” Smith said at the time. “Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward. Because we are enough to take care of our own community.”
Smith’s $34 million gift got the attention of Frank Baker, who has known Smith for years. Like Smith, Baker is an African-American who found business success by starting a private equity firm that invests in technology companies. Smith and Baker both started their Wall Street careers in 1994 in the mergers and acquisitions group of Goldman Sachs.
Baker has taken Smith’s challenge seriously and this week announced he would be paying the tuition balances of about 50 seniors who are graduating from Spelman College, the all-women historically black college in Atlanta.
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