Robert F. Smith, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners was honored on September 17 by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The civil rights organization hosted its 20th Annual A. Leon Higginbotham Corporate Leadership Award Event to spotlight corporate leaders and civil rights champions.
Smith received the organization’s Robert F. Kennedy Prize. The award was in recognition of his work to recruit and support underrepresented students in STEM fields through scholarships, graduate fellowships and program funding, and his recent pledge to pay off student loans for an entire class of graduating seniors.
Smith received national attention in 2019 for revealing during his commencement speech that he planned to pay off the student debt of the entire graduating class of 2019 at Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta. To expand upon his commitment to combat the student debt epidemic which disproportionately impacts students of color, Smith launched The Student Freedom Initiative, a non-profit that aims to ease the burden of student debt for Black students.
Smith has also been recognized by All Star Code during the education non-profit’s 7th Annual Summer Benefit. The organization is designed to close the gap in tech entrepreneurship by working to develop new skills and expand the networks of young men of color. All Star Code highlighted Smith’s work as an ambassador to the organization, which includes speaking at programs, hosting discussions, fundraising, and providing strategic advice.
Read more about Smith and the awards ceremony here.