In some ways the gesture by Robert F. Smith is an indication of the systemic problems in higher education. It costs too much. It often leaves its graduates in deep debt. And it exists in a world of such dramatic income inequality that it’s possible for one person to wipe away the debts of 400 graduates with less effort than it would take any of those individuals to even begin to claw out of their personal sea of red. All that said, let’s just pause on a busy Monday morning to appreciate the grand gesture of a philanthropist who surprised Morehouse College graduates at commencement by announcing he would pay off their student loans. While the financial aspect of the moment was memorable, the most shocking part of the afternoon was that someone turned a college graduation ceremony into something other than a ferocious bore.

+ Here’s some video from the moment Smith surprised the graduates (and everyone else) with his announcement.

+ WaPo: Who is this Robert Smith? (Who is he? Well, for one thing, he’s now the most sought after graduation speaker of all time…)