QUINCY, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts businessman and philanthropist handed out more than just sage advice during his commencement address at a local college on Friday — he gave each of the 490 graduating students a $1,000 cash gift.
Each Quincy College graduate got two envelopes, each containing $500.
Robert T. Hale Jr., CEO of Granite Telecommunications told the graduates that half the gift was for them, the rest was to give away to an organization or individual who needs it more than them.
Students and parents burst into applause at the outdoor ceremony at a stadium in Quincy, located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Boston.
“I was flattered and honored when they asked me to be the commencement speaker several months ago,” Hale told The Patriot Ledger. “It just seems like these kids haven’t had much reason to celebrate, so I wanted to help them do just that.”
Hale, also the owner of Quincy development company FoxRock Properties, is known for his generosity in supporting organizations focused on cancer research and treatment.
“You have persevered in the pandemic, and you haven’t had a chance to celebrate the last 14 months like you should,” he said in his address. “And you have seen society and the needs of society grow. We wanted to try to address both of those areas.”