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A billionaire gives $1,000 to each UMass graduate but requires them to donate half

Graduate students hold their diplomas (Via University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)

Last week at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s graduation ceremony, the weather wasn’t the only thing making waves. Billionaire philanthropist Rob Hale surprised over 1,000 graduates by revealing a truck filled with envelopes stuffed with cash on stage.

Despite the rain-soaked ceremony, the graduates were thrilled as Hale announced he was giving each of them $1,000. However, there was a condition: they could keep $500 and were encouraged to donate the rest.

Hale emphasized that the greatest joy in his life, shared with his wife Karen, came from giving back. He spoke about the importance of generosity, especially in challenging times, urging the graduates to support their community.

Known for founding Granite Telecommunications and owning a stake in the Boston Celtics, Hale has made this generous gesture for the fourth consecutive year. Previously, he surprised students at UMass Boston, Roxbury Community College, and Quincy College with similar gifts.

Robert Hale (Via University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)

The UMass Dartmouth students, unaware that Hale would be speaking or giving away money, reacted with surprise and happiness. Joshua Bernadin, who earned a chemistry degree, described the moment as shocking and joyful. He plans to use part of the money to pay off student loans and will donate the rest to the theater company and gospel choir he participated in at the university.

Bernadin appreciated the idea of being nudged towards donating, noting that while many in his generation focus on personal gain, it’s crucial to acknowledge support received and give back.

Hale also shared his own journey to success, acknowledging setbacks such as his previous company’s bankruptcy during the dotcom crash in 2002.

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