Billionaire Gives $1,000 Each to UMass Boston Graduates

Robert Hale, a philanthropist who co-owns the Boston Celtics, surprised thousands of UMass Boston graduates with $1,000 gifts at a commencement ceremony.
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Published on May 30, 2023
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  • Robert Hale, co-founder and president of Granite Telecommunications, announced he was giving $1,000 each to UMass Boston graduates at a spring commencement ceremony.
  • Graduates received $500 as a gift and another $500 to give to "an organization, family member, or supporter," according to a press release.
  • Hale previously gave similar gifts at Quincy College and Roxbury Community College.

University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) graduates got more than their hard-earned diplomas at the school's spring 2023 commencement ceremony — they also received $1,000 cash from a philanthropist.

Robert Hale, the president and co-founder of Granite Telecommunications who also co-owns the Boston Celtics, gave two envelopes to UMass Boston graduates at the ceremony. One contained $500 for graduates to keep, and the other contained $500 for them to give to a person or organization "who can use it more than you," Hale said at the ceremony.

"These are turbulent times," Hale told graduates as the envelopes were set out on the stage. "You guys have survived. You have prospered. You are to be celebrated. You've overcome. It's not easy."

This isn't Hale's first time dishing out gifts for graduates to give. He also did so at Quincy College in 2021 and Roxbury Community College in 2022, according to The Patriot Ledger.

"These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving," Hale told UMass Boston graduates at the May 25 ceremony.

Graduates also heard from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who, according to a UMass Boston press release, encouraged students to "choose hope for our world."

"Much is broken in this world. And the urgency of change is upon us," Warren said. "We must make changes — lots of changes — and we must make those changes quickly. Our survival depends on it."