"My family will provide a scholarship to get rid of your student loans," he told newly graduates in Atlanta.
The announcement that Smith asked graduates to follow his example of prepay was answered with standing ovations and MVP vocals.
The total among the 396 students adds up to about $ 40 million, said Morehouse President David A. Thomas. He called Smith's gesture "a liberation gift."
"When you need to service debt, decisions about what you can do in the world are limited," he said. "(Smith's gift) gives them the freedom to follow their dreams and passions."
Students say they are overwhelmed with gratitude
Students did not trust their ears when Smith made the announcement, three alumni of the All-Men's College told CNN.
"It will sink in over the years, I know for sure," he said. "I still do not have words … it makes a great day so much better."
Epps said he had about $ 35,000 in student loans that his parents in Pleasanton, California had agreed to pay him. He could not wait to tell them the news, he said.
In addition to the $ 90,000 the 22-year-old New Yorker owed himself, he told his mother borrowed to bring him through the school.
"All your service and giving was not in vain," said Dormeus, when asked what Smith's gift meant to his family.
Smith has made many other charitable donations
Her benefactor also received an honorary title on Sunday alongside actress Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon.
The entrepreneur, founder of investment firm Vista Equity Partners, has a value of approximately $ 5 billion, according to Forbes.
The 56-year-old was a chemical engineer at Goodyear and Kraft before attending trade school. He worked for Goldman Sachs, a technology investment specialist, before starting with Vista Equity in 2000.
Vista Equity invests exclusively in software, data and technology companies and has $ 46 billion in capital commitments, according to the company's website.
Smith has a pretty generous series. In 2016, Cornell University, one of its key facilities, named its school of chemical and biomolecular engineering in honor of the Austin, Texas investor, after pledging to donate $ 50 million to the school. He has also donated millions for cancer research and the arts.
His Fund II Foundation grants grants under five pillars: preserving African-American experience, upholding human rights, preserving the environment, providing music education, and preserving "critical American values, such as entrepreneurship," according to the organization.
In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative by billionaires Warren Buffett, Bill, and Melinda Gates to convince wealthy Americans to give away half of their assets.
In signing the pledge, Smith said he will focus on concerns that promote the equality of Black Americans and the environment. His wife, Model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, will focus on helping children, he wrote.
"I will never forget that my parents, grandparents, and generations of African-Americans whose names I will never know have paved my way," Smith said. "Their struggles, their courage and their progress made me strive and achieve something, my story would only be possible in America, and it is up to all of us to pass on that heritage."