/  05.09.2022

Graduation season is here and an anonymous donor has made sure that graduates at Wiley College in Texas can start their careers off debt-free.

On Saturday (May 7), as students, their families and faculty members gathered to celebrate the HBCU’s graduating class of 2022, a bigger joy was in store. Herman J. Felton Jr. — the president and CEO of Wiley College — surprised those in attendance by announcing that the students’ debts had been paid off.

“You no longer have a balance,” Felton said at the commencement ceremony.

Felton assured the over 100 students at the East Texas university that they “do not owe the college a penny.”

According to a news release, the donation that covered the balance of the students’ education totaled around $300,000.

In a statement, Felton said, “We are constantly communicating with donors to assist students in these ways so that they can begin their after-college experience with less debt.”

The school truly lives up to its HBCU title. In 1935, when much of the nation was heavily segregated, students at Wiley College beat the nationally-known debate team from the University of Southern California. This historic achievement was the inspiration behind the 2007 film, The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington.

A tweet shared from the school’s official Twitter account says, “Congratulations 2022 Graduates, YOU ARE DEBT FREE! Go Forth Inspired, glorious deeds to do.”

The tweet also contains a video of the exact moment Felton told the graduating class the amazing news. Screams of sheer elation can be heard as astonished students rejoiced since their financial burdens had been lifted.

KPRC News 2 in Houston tweeted, “Wiley College graduates received one of the greatest graduation presents one could give!”

Another user added a relatable, “Lord, I’ve seen what you’ve done for others … “

Check out a video of the announcement as well as a few tweets below.

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