The North Carolina native returned to his hometown for his graduation ceremony at Winston-Salem State University on Friday, just one day after playing against the Clippers in Phoenix.
The 37-year-old Phoenix Suns player began college at Wake Forest University in 2003, but he left after two years to pursue a prolific NBA career.
Paul joins his family in calling the HBCU his alma mater, as both of his parents attended the university. “I grew up in the backyard of all the H.B.C.U.s,” Paul told the New York Times about why he chose WSSU. “So, it was natural for me.”
Paul didn’t just get his diploma; he left his classmates with a memorable parting gift: each granted each graduate $2,500.
Paul’s support for HBCUs isn’t just limited to Friday’s donations.
He donated $50,000 to WSSU’s fundraising efforts for student athletes in 2019 and has promoted HBCUs through various partnerships over the years, including the HBCU Challenge basketball event.
After defeating the Los Angeles Clippers at Thursday’s home game, Paul spoke to the Arizona Republic about what he was most excited about heading into Friday’s ceremony. “To be able to go back home and do that with my family is something that snuck up kinda quick but I’m probably most excited that I get to spend the next 10 days with my wife and my kids.”