Oprah Winfrey recently announced her plans to donate an additional $13 million to Morehouse College, making history at the men’s historically Black college.
The media mogul and philanthropist visited Morehouse on Monday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the college’s Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarships Program.
Winfrey had already donated $12 million to the scholarship program, which began in 1989. Her latest donation brings her total investment to $25 million, the largest endowment for a scholarship in Morehouse’s history, the college said in a press release.
“Seeing you young Oprah Winfrey Scholars here today has moved me deeply,” Winfrey said during her speech at Morehouse on Monday.
“I was really surprised to learn that it’s been 30 years since I made that $12 million donation to Morehouse,” she later continued. “And so today, I would like to add $13 million to that.”
Here is video from today's surprise announcement. Oprah Winfrey donated $13 million to continue the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship Program, pushing her total investment to $25 million, which is the largest endowment in the College’s history. pic.twitter.com/5tcs6Pfu5m— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) October 7, 2019
Winfrey’s scholarship program has funded the education of nearly 600 students over the past 30 years, Morehouse said. Beneficiaries of her investment include Mayor Randall L. Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama.
Woodfin, who attended the event at Morehouse on Monday, later tweeted that he thanked Winfrey in person for “helping me graduate.”
“Her scholarship allowed me to fight off all those damn loans I had,” he said.
I was an @Oprah Scholar as a senior in college. I was honored to be a guest on the last episode of the Oprah show. But I was even more honored to thank her in person today for helping me graduate – her scholarship allowed me to fight off all those damn loans I had. pic.twitter.com/IQWBExR2dG— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) October 7, 2019
Last month, billionaire Robert F. Smith donated $34 million to the Morehouse College Student Success Program to wipe the student loan debt for the school’s 2019 graduating class as well as their parents, who took out Parent Plus loans to help pay for college.
Smith announced his donation plans during his commencement speech at Morehouse’s graduation ceremony in May. He received an honorary doctorate from the college at the event.
On Monday, Morehouse President David A. Thomas addressed the importance of supporting HBCUs, as some are struggling to survive.
“I’m grateful to Oprah Winfrey for her generosity,” Thomas said, per the release. “I am also feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah’s and Robert Smith’s.”
He continued, “I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities.”
Oprah Winfrey returned to Morehouse College to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program. Her $12 million donation to the scholarship program over the years has paid for the education of nearly 600 scholars. A portrait was unveiled in her honor today. pic.twitter.com/AE3Qell0Mk— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) October 7, 2019
An oil portrait of Winfrey was unveiled at the Morehouse event on Monday.
“Spent a day marinating in black excellence with these gorgeous, promising, young men at @Morehouse,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “They honored me with roses, a song, and a portrait for a scholarship fund I set up 30 years ago. Can’t wait to see what they do with their future.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.