“Don’t sit around and wait for someone to anoint you ready for the next challenge. Don’t wait your turn. Bet on yourself and have the confidence to stand up and say my time is now.” — Robert F. Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners —
Robert F. Smith, the billionaire CEO of venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners, shocked the students of Morehouse College yesterday afternoon while delivering his commencement speech to the all-male, historically black college located in Atlanta, GA. In the middle of his stirring speech to the graduating class of 396 students, Smith pledged to create a grant to eliminate their student loan debt, a generous donation estimated to be near $40 million. What might be a small drop in the bucket for the philanthropic investor has lifted a huge financial burden for these young men entering adulthood — a true example of paying it forward.