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Billionaire commencement speaker gives graduates P58,000 each with one condition

By AYIE LICSI Published May 19, 2024 1:34 pm

The class of 2024 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth had one memorable graduation as a tech billionaire who gave a commencement speech gifted them $1,000 (~P58,000).

Robert Hale Jr., the CEO of telco company Granite, was one of the speakers at the rainy ceremony. After talking about failure and perseverance, he proceeded to say he had more than advice for the graduates.

"Each of you is getting $1,000 cash," he said as large duffel bags filled with envelopes were brought on stage. The envelopes of cash were given to the new grads as they walked the stage to get their diplomas.

Hale also revealed that there was a catch to this gift—only $500 (~P29,000) would belong to the graduates. They must give the other half of the sum to someone in need or a cause close to their hearts.

"We want to give you two gifts," the businessman-philanthropist said. "The first is our gift to you, the second is the gift of giving."

"These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring, and giving. Our community and our world need our help more than ever."

UMass Dartmouth told FOX Business that 1,200 graduates received the envelopes.

According to Forbes, Hale, 57, is worth $5.4 billion (~P312 billion). He founded Granite Telecommunications in 2002, after his previous company, Network Plus, went bankrupt. The businessman is also known for his philanthropy as he has donated over $270 million to cancer research and educational institutions.