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Robert F. Smith

Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Vista Equity Partners

Robert F. Smith is a philanthropist and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners (Vista), an investment firm that specializes in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled companies. In 2019, during his commencement address, Smith eliminated the student loans of approximately 400 Morehouse College students of the graduating class, a gift that totaled about $34 million. Smith later helped found Student Freedom Initiative to relieve student loan debt for qualifying STEM students at HBCUs around the country. Previously, Smith worked at Kraft General Foods and Goodyear Tire and Rubber. In 1994, Smith graduated from Columbia University Business School with an MBA and secured a job at Goldman Sachs. In 2000, Smith founded Vista, combining his passion for technology and investment banking. In 2017, he signed the Giving Pledge, committing to donate half of his income throughout his lifetime.

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