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UMass Dartmouth Grads Surprised with $1,000 from Billionaire Commencement Speaker — Under One Condition

A commencement speaker at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth gave the graduates some inspiring words for their futures — and $1,000 cash each to get them started.

Robert Hale, Jr., the billionaire founder and CEO of Quincy-based Granite Telecommunications, sent the students into a frenzy when he told them “each graduate who crossed the stage” on Thursday “would receive one $500 envelope to keep as a gift,” the university said.

A second $500 envelope was also presented to each grad to be given to “someone in need or a charity or cause close to them,” the school said.

Hale, who stuffed the envelopes into two giant duffel bags he brought on stage with him, told the crowd that for him and his wife “the greatest joys we’ve had in our life have been the gift of giving.”

“These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving,” Hale said.

“Our community and our world need our help now more than ever.”

A total of 1,200 graduates, 40% of whom were first-generation students, received two checks, a school spokesperson told Fox Business.

Hale, according to Forbes, has an estimated net worth of $5.4 billion.

Through the pouring rain, Hale told the students about his career — including losing $1 billion nearly overnight, according to the university.

Hale “urged them not to let failure define them, using his own life as an example of resilience and perseverance,” the school said.


  • Nancy says:

    I bet that that very few of these graduates will give the $500 to someone else. I just don’t see any of today’s student’s being that charitable.



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