Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel Pays off Student Debt of LA Art College Graduates

The future is looking pretty bright for Otis College of Art and Design’s graduating class of 2022. After the last graduate crossed the stage during their commencement ceremony on May 15, Otis president Charles Hirschhorn made the incredible announcement that the student debt of all 284 members of the class would be eliminated. Now, thanks to the largest donation in the school’s history, made by Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel and his wife Miranda Kerr, none of the new grads will have to face the future saddled with the burden of student loan debt.

The students in the audience were absolutely shocked by the news. Many of the ecstatic graduates jumped, clapped, and shouted for joy while many others were left entirely speechless. Some of the grateful grads were even moved to tears by the announcement.

“I’m speechless,” one student, Yaritza Velazquez-Medina, said with tear-filled emotion. And after taking on $70,000 in student loan debt to attend Otis, it’s no wonder she was so moved by the news. “I am so grateful and so happy,” she continues. “For a lot of us, because of the pandemic, it’s hard to find a job,” she said. “It’s such a relief. It’s a weight off your shoulders.”

The generous donors, Spiegel and Kerr, are the founders of the Spiegel Family Fund, their own nonprofit foundation which they used to make the tremendous life-changing contribution to Otis College. Invited as guest commencement speakers, the Snapchat CEO and his wife were also awarded honorary degrees during the ceremony. And Spiegel himself took summer classes at Otis when he was in high school, which was likely one of the primary motivations behind the couple’s generous action.

“It changed my life and made me feel at home,” Spiegel said of his time at the college during his commencement speech. “I felt pushed and challenged to grow surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together.”

“It is a privilege for our family to give back and support the Class of 2022,” Spiegel and Kerr shared in a statement. “We hope this gift will empower graduates to pursue their passions, contribute to the world, and inspire humanity for years to come.”

With student loan debt affecting more than 43 million people in America, the average borrower carries a balance of $37,014 in college debt. And while not every graduate can count on the Snapchat CEO or some other wealthy billionaire to repay their student debt, Otis College’s Class of 2022 will see the extraordinary impact of this gift for the rest of their lives. And, hopefully, one day they’ll be in a position to give back in kind.

“Otis is incredibly grateful for this historic gift from Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel, which will be life-changing for the Class of 2022 and their families,” said Hirschhorn in a statement. “Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented graduates. We hope this donation will provide much-deserved relief and empower them to pursue their aspirations and careers, pay this generosity forward, and become the next leaders of our community.”

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and his wife, model Miranda Kerr, made a generous donation to Otis College of Art and Design that will pay the student loan debt of the entire Class of 2022.

Watch the graduates' astounded reactions as the college's president makes the extraordinary announcement.

Spiegel Family Fund: Website
Otis College of Art and Design: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
h/t: [Reddit]

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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