College Grads Receive a Big Gift, With a 'Catch'

UMass Dartmouth students get $1K each from billionaire Robert Hale, but they have to donate half
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2024 8:55 AM CDT
Billionaire Keeps on Surprising College Grads With Cash
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Rattankun Thongbun)

Students threw their graduation caps into the air at UMass Dartmouth this week, and they were on the receiving end of quite a surprise during what the college calls an "unforgettable ceremony." CBS News reports that Boston Celtics co-owner Robert Hale served as commencement speaker on Thursday, and after his words of wisdom to the 1,100-plus outgoing grads, the billionaire announced he had a gift for them all. "Each of you is getting $1,000 cash right now," Hale told the students as two large duffel bags were brought onto the stage, packed with money-filled envelopes.

CBS notes there was a "catch" to Hale's gift: Each graduate actually received two envelopes—one with $500 for them to spend however they please, the other with $500 for them to donate to someone in need or to a cause of their choosing. "The greatest joys we've had in our life have been the gift of giving," Hale said of himself and his wife, Karen, per a release. He added, per CBS: "These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving."

It's not the first time that Hale, also the founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, has opened up his wallet for the next generation of young adults: Last year, UMass Boston graduates were the recipients of the same amount, and in 2021, Quincy College, located in the same city as his company's headquarters, received his $1,000 gift. (More uplifting news stories.)

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