Of course, Smith received a thunderous round of applause from the 400 graduates - and from their parents. "I know my class will pay this forward".
Smith said he expected the recipients to "pay it forward" and said he hoped that "every class has the same opportunity going forward". "We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream".
He interned at Bell Labs in high school, before attending Cornell University for college.
He called Smith's gesture "a liberation gift".
"We're looking at each other like, 'Is he being serious?' That's a lot of money", salutatorian Robert James, 21, said.
"It'll sink in as the years go on".
'I can delete that spreadsheet, ' he said in an interview after the commencement. "I still don't really have words". Last month, the MA senator Elizabeth Warren won widespread praise when she published a plan to cancel much student debt and make public college free, funded by a tax on the super rich.
Student debt in the USA amounts to $US 1.52 trillion as of June a year ago, according to Forbes.
Google suspends some business with Huawei after Trump's blacklisting, source says
Intel provides processors for Huawei's server products while Qualcomm supplies processors and modems for its mid-range phones. Not many people expected it but Google will be discontinuing any service that may involve technology, software, and hardware.
Tyreke Evans Banned From NBA For Violating Drug Policy
Evans was on deck to be an unrestricted free agent this summer after inking a one-year, $12.4 million deal last summer. The NBA's press release didn't disclose information about Evans' usage.
De Graafschap vs. Ajax Amsterdam - Football Match Report
But in Europe? I can not say right now. "That we can only determine on September 1 when we know what our squad looks like". His 19-year-old team mate Matthijs de Ligt is expected to follow him out of the club for another big fee.
"A few of my friends have gone through difficulties, and knowing they will graduate and not have to struggle anymore is a really emotional moment", James said.
Smith said he wanted students to understand that part of receiving this gift is that they will also think about taking care of people behind them when they are able.
The Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar has said she is not in favour of debt- or tuition-free college, telling CNN: "If I were a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would".
Both Smith and actor Angela Bassett received honorary degrees from the college on Sunday.
"And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans", said Smith, who is CEO and Chairman of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm with offices across the country, during Saturday's commencement ceremony. He worked for Goldman Sachs, specializing in technology investments, before starting Vista Equity in 2000.
Smith has quite the generous streak.
Smith is also the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which makes grants related to African American cultural preservation, human rights, environmental conservation, music education and "sustaining the American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, innovation and security". He's the first African-American to sign the pledge, according to Forbes.
Holmes, who earned degrees in computer science and mathematics, said he's already accepted a software engineering job at Google and plans to fulfill Smith's wish that he and his classmates return his benevolence by paying it forward.