It is not a usual occurrence for a graduating class to get free money during their graduation ceremony. But it happened at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass) where the graduating class of 2023 received some bonus together with their commencement speech from billionaire Rob Hale. The Granite CEO told the 2,500 students about the ‘gift of giving,’ and that each of them would be getting a gift of $1,000 in cash.
This $1,000 was spread in two envelopes, each of them with $500 for the student to keep or spend, and the other $500 to give to the charitable cause of their choice. This is how he put it:
“For us [he and his wife Karen Hale] the greatest joys we’ve had in our life has been the gift of giving, so each of you is getting $1,000 cash.”
Hale knows something about the joy of giving. In 2022, he and his wife Karen were allegedly giving $1 million every week to different small charities.
It is not the first time that Hale has done such a thing. In 2021, he gave the graduating class at Quincy College $1,000 each. At that time, Rob Hale told the Patriot Ledger newspaper that the gift was aimed at making up for the loss of some of the traditional college experiences because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was flattered and honored when they asked me to be the commencement speaker several months ago. It just seems like these kids haven’t had much reason to celebrate, so I wanted to help them do just that.”
But, it seems like Rob Hale is continuing the practice now.
In the same year, the Hales family donated $30 million to his alma mater Connecticut College. Notably, at this year’s UMass ceremony, Senator Elizabeth Warren was on hand too, and both Warren and Hale received honorary medals from the chancellor of the university.
If you are a current college student reading this, take note: in case billionaire Robert Hale gets invited in 2024 to make your class’s commencement and there is any question of you not managing to graduate, ensure that all your credits are in perfect order since you might just qualify for $1,000 during your graduation.