In much pomp and circumstance, the graduating class of Wiley College received a huge, life-changing surprise during their commencement ceremony over the weekend.
Students at the East Texas HBCU learned Saturday (May 7) that their student loan debt had been paid off by a generous anonymous donor, officials said. In a news release, Wiley College officials said more than 100 students gathered for the ceremony when they received the news.
"You are debt-free! You do not owe the college a penny," school officials said in a video clip from graduation. "If you have a balance, you had a balance. You no longer have a balance" they added.
"Go Forth Inspired, glorious deeds to do," a tweet announcing the news reads.
"We are constantly communicating with donors to assist students in these ways so that they can begin their after-college experience with less debt," Wiley College President & CEO Herman J. Felton, said in a statement.
The Class of 2022's estimated total owed to Wiley was revealed to be around $300,000, the college said.
Wiley College's 1935 win over the University of Southern California in a debate competition inspired the 2007 film The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington.