Graduation Got Even Sweeter

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr pay off student debt for LA school's Class of 2022
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2022 7:45 PM CDT
Couple Pays Off Student Debt for LA School's Class of 2022
Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr arrive at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington last month.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(Newser) – Evan Spiegel, who later co-founded Snapchat, has fond memories of taking summer classes at Otis College of Art and Design while in high school. "It changed my life and made me feel at home," Spiegel said, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I felt pushed and challenged to grow surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together." At the Los Angeles school's graduation ceremony Sunday, he gave more than a little back. Spiegel and his wife, Miranda Kerr, who founded the beauty company Kora, picked up the tab for the 285 graduates' college debt.

Hugs and tears met the announcement by Charles Hirschhorn, president of Otis. "All of it, really?" one graduate asked. In thanking the couple, Hirschhorn said the gift "will be life-changing for the Class of 2022 and their families." He didn't say how much money was donated, but he said it topped the school's previous largest gift of $10 million. It was delivered through the Spiegel Family Fund, started by Spiegel and Kerr. Spiegel became the world’s youngest billionaire in 2015 after coming up with the instant messaging app with two former classmates at Stanford.

Graduates spoke about the relief they felt after the announcement. One said she owes $70,000. California residents alone have student debt totaling $141.8 billion. Another graduate said: "My mom was crying. They were so worried about it for me." Hirschhorn said the debt "weighs heavily" on alumni, and research shows it affects mental health and delays life decisions, per the Times. He said Kerr and Spiegel offered the donation after they were invited to speak at commencement. In a statement, the couple called donating the money a privilege, per People. "We hope this gift will empower graduates to pursue their passions, contribute to the world, and inspire humanity for years to come," they said. (Read more student debt stories.)

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