While people were still in awe at philanthropist and billionaire Robert F. Smith pledging to pay off the student loan debt for the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College, some people were pointing to others to do the same. However, be careful where you point fingers, especially at Oprah Winfrey, whose charity to college students — including Morehouse — is iconic.
Oprah recently spoke at Colorado College’s commencement and posted a fun photo to Instagram with the following caption: “I don’t know who this guy is but he sure is happy to graduate! I shook hands with all 571 members of @coloradocollege‘s Class of 2019 and gave them a copy of The Path Made Clear.”
However, someone had to throw some shade in the comments section, with a user named @spiritualceo1111 having the audacity to write, “Should have paid off their student debt.”
Ms. Winfrey quickly clapped back with facts. “Already paid 13m in scholarships. Have put over 400 thru Morehouse,” she wrote.
Oprah paid for the college tuition for more than 400 Morehouse men and they famously appeared on one of the final episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth sang “For Good” as they took the stage while Oprah broke down in tears. Watch below:
Not to mention, Oprah built a school for girls in South Africa and already has a scholarship program in her name at Morehouse College. Mama Oprah has clearly done the work.
In case you missed it, the historically Black college for men awarded Smith with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for being a trailblazer in business. Unbeknownst to students and faculty, Smith dropped a bomb during his commencement speech.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus. Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” he said. “I want my class to look at these (alumni) — these beautiful Morehouse brothers — and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we are enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
Student loan debt has continued to rise in the U.S. According to Forbes, there is currently $1.5 trillion owed. In addition, HBCU students typically owe 32% more than non-HBCU students, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Thanks to everyone from Oprah to Robert F. Smith for helping make student loan debt irrelevant for students.