Graduates of UMass Boston will start their post-college careers with a head start.
Rob Hale, a billionaire who joined the Boston Celtics‘ ownership group in 2012, surprised University of Massachusetts Boston undergraduates with a gift during their commencement ceremony Thursday.
“We are proud of you, so 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 said during his commencement speech, according to NBC 10 Boston.
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“These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring and giving. Our community and our world need you, it needs us more than ever — needs us to be compassionate.”
Hale then explained that each graduate would receive $1,000, half of which to keep, and the other half to be given to someone else — or an organization — who could use it “more than you.”
“There are two sets of envelopes: One says ‘gift’ and one says ‘give.’ The first is for you, the ‘gift’ is for you. The ‘give’ is also for you, but it’s to give,” he said. “The greatest joys we’ve had in our life have been the gift of giving. So each of you is getting $1,000 cash right now.
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“The first $500 is for you,” Hale then said. “It’s a celebration of all you have done to be here today. You’re leaders. Celebrate. The second $500 is a gift for you to give to somebody or somebody else or another organization who could use it more than you. Share in the joy of giving. Congratulations, Beacons!”
A total of 2,500 undergraduates made up the 2023 UMass Boston graduating class, according to Boston.com.
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Hale is the president of Granite Communications, a communications services provider for businesses with multiple locations, which is based in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Hale’s net worth is estimated at $5 billion, and he has personally donated over $280 million toward cancer research, educational institutions and other charities, according to Forbes.