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Commencement speaker surprises new graduates with $1000 each but with a disclaimer

The 2024 graduation ceremony at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was livened up with a speaker's special announcement.

Commencement speaker surprises new graduates with $1000 each but with a disclaimer
Cover Image Source: X | @UMassD

As young graduates just out of college, many face the perplexing realities of life. The true struggles of living independently begin and people start prioritizing themselves in the pursuit of happiness or success. So, a commencement speaker recently shared a powerful message about the importance of generosity to the 2024 graduates of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on May 16. Robert Hale Jr., founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, graced the graduation ceremony not only with his impactful speech but also with a $1000 gift for the graduates of this year. However, the gift came with a catch.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

As thousands of students were eagerly awaiting their graduation, Hale Jr. became the highlight of the day as he received the UMass Dartmouth Chancellor's Medal for his outstanding philanthropy work. He then began the ceremony's commencement speech and it instantly livened up the rainy Thursday. The CEO gave the students a reality check about how failures are bound to happen in life and he lost nearly $1 billion overnight. "Don't fear failure, understand that it's just part of the process and if you use that fear of failure to motivate yourself you'll be better," Hale Jr. added.


Just before the degree conferral, Hale Jr. made an announcement that left the students in awe. Along with his wife Karen, the philanthropist decided to give $1000 cash to each student who was graduating. "We want to give you two gifts the first is our gift to you the second is the gift of giving," Hale Jr. announced. He then pointed to a truck and said that there were nearly 3000 envelopes of $500 and every student would receive two envelopes- one for themselves and one for charitable causes. "The greatest joys in life that we have experienced have come from giving. We want to share that gift of giving with you today," he added.

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A post shared by UMass Dartmouth (@umassd)


Hale Jr's attempt at teaching the students the vitality of being generous was well-received by the audience. Applause engulfed the ceremony and many students were in absolute awe at this gift as per the Instagram post shared by the university. "These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring and giving. Our community needs you and your generosity more than ever," Hale Jr. pointed out. The class of 2024 at the university had 1200 students graduating and as each one received their degree on the stage, they received envelopes with cash half of which they were to offer to a cause or charity that was close to their hearts.

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A post shared by Harvard University (@harvard)


Speaking of powerful commencement speeches at graduation, actor Tom Hanks's speech at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts deserves attention. During his speech, the "Inferno" actor emphasized that the students need to be superheroes defending the truth and American ideals while also resisting those who twist the truth for their own gain, as per the Guardian. "Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, a nation indivisible. The others get in the way. The responsibility is yours. Ours. The effort is optional. But the truth, the truth is sacred. Unalterable. Chiseled into the stone and the foundation of our republic," Hanks stated.

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