I hope you had a great week, and that you’re enjoying the beginning of summer—-somewhere, nowhere I am. But I’m busy writing so maybe it doesn’t matter.
I heard something absolutely amazing recently. You may have heard about it too. A businessman named Robert F. Smith, investor, and philanthropist, a graduate himself of Cornell and Columbia, gave the commencement address of Morehouse College, a men’s college in Atlanta. And at the end of his speech he announced that he was going to pay off all the student loans of the graduating class—-a class of 400 students, and he was going to pay up to 40 Million Dollars, thus an average of $100,000 per student in student loans. So many, many young people in this country carry the crushing burden of student loans for many years, in order to get an education. For someone to literally wipe out that debt and give them a clean slate to start with as they graduate is just an extraordinary gift. It is stunning, and what an amazing human being he must be to do that for those students. There is so often jealousy, bitterness and anger against the “rich”, in this country and even in Europe, often without realizing how much they contribute, and do for their fellow man, sometimes very quietly, or even anonymously. I think Mr. Smith’s gesture is truly extraordinary, and I salute him for such a stunning act of kindness for those 400 graduates.
In a similar vein, I was also stunned recently to learn that New York University Medical School has announced that from now on tuition to the NYU Medical School will be free. It is a giant leap into philanthropy as well. The cost of education has sky rocketed, and many worthy students simply cannot afford the price of higher education, and for any number of reasons don’t qualify for scholarships. To lift the burden of the cost of medical school (they still have to qualify to get into the school), but to make medical school at such an important university free really bowled me over and impressed me. I hope other academic institutions will follow their example.
We have examples every day of “man’s inhumanity to man”, on small and large scale, it makes these enormous philanthropic humanitarian gestures all the more meaningful and precious, and gives us all hope that kindness and compassion have not been forgotten, nor have they disappeared. And NYU is able to do that because of the enormous endowments they have received, from people who give millions of dollars to benefit these institutions. So that now, in turn, they can make tuition free to individual students.
I thought you’d be interested in hearing about it. I hope that all is well with you!! Have a great week!!