University of Massachusetts-Boston graduates got a big surprise during the school’s commencement ceremony Thursday: $1,000 in cash, courtesy of billionaire philanthropist Robert Hale.
Hale, who was the co-keynote speaker along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gave each of the 2,000 graduates two envelopes with $500 inside each, one for themselves and one to give to an organization, family member or supporter, The Hill reported Friday.
“These are turbulent times,” said Hale, founder and CEO of wholesale telecommunications provider Granite Telecommunications, based in Quincy, Massachusetts. “You guys have survived. You have prospered. You are to be celebrated. You’ve overcome.
“It’s not easy. We’re here. And we are proud of you. We want to share in that celebration with you. We want to give you two gifts. The first is a gift to you. The second is the gift of giving.”
Hale talked about giving back in his speech and how students can become community leaders, The Hill reported.
“You’re going to define the next generation of our society, the commonwealth and beyond,” he said. “You will have a more enjoyable life if you give a little more than you get, and you take a few chances. Don’t fear failure. Defy it. You will have a more fulsome life because of it.”
Hale, who owns a minority stake in the NBA’s Boston Celtics, gave a similar gift to the class of 2022 at Roxbury Community College in Boston — divided into two envelopes, with the condition that half be given to someone who might need the help more, WBTS-TV reported.
“If you give a little more than you get your life will be better because of it, I promise you,” Hale said Thursday.
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