Boston Celtics co-owner Rob Hale surprises 2,500 UMass Boston students with $1,000 each at their graduation ceremony
- Rob Hale has a net worth of $5 billion and is CEO and Founder of Granite Telecom
- The 55-year-old from Quincy, MA, became a minority owner of The C’s in 2012
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Boston Celtics co-owner Rob Hale showed up at the graduation ceremony for 2,500 UMass Boston students to surprise them with $1,000 each, moments before they walked across the stage.
Hale, who has a net worth of $5 billion, spoke at the university’s 55th commencement ceremony on Thursday before handing over the money, which he split into two envelopes so students could keep $500 and donate the other half.
“These are turbulent times. You survived. You have thrived. You need to be celebrated,” said the 55-year-old, who is also co-founder, president and CEO of Granite Telecommunications.
“We want to give you two gifts. The first is a gift for you. The second is the gift of giving.
Hale also touched on the benefits of picking up from failure and paying for it through philanthropy earlier in his keynote.
Celtics co-owner Rob Hale spoke at the UMass Boston graduation ceremony on Thursday
More than 2,500 students went ballistic once they found out Hale gave them $1,000 each
The Boston native, from the suburb of Quincy, said his first company, Network Plus, lost a huge amount of money after the company filed for bankruptcy more than 20 years ago.
“Have you ever met someone who lost a billion dollars? Hale asked the audience. “Chances are I’m the biggest loser you’ve ever met. And now you get career advice from me.
The co-owner of one of the most successful NBA franchises in basketball history was joined by Senator Elizabeth Warren as the keynote speaker for UMass Boston this year.
Hale previously delivered the 2021 commencement address at Quincy College and also gave graduates there $1,000 cash, split into two envelopes.
“It’s really great for them to give back like this,” said William Dos Santos, an electrical engineering graduate. The Boston Globe. “A lot of us need that money to start working.”
Hale and his wife, Karen, are very active in the Boston community and believe deeply in giving back through their many philanthropic works.
In 2021, the couple donated $30 million to Connecticut College, Hale’s alma mater, to support its financial aid, athletics department, and campus infrastructure development.
Rob Hale, 55, has a net worth of $5 billion and is the founder, CEO and chairman of Granite Telecommunication
Hale has been a minority shareholder in the Celtics since 2012 (seen with far-right Jayson Tatum in 2018)
The eight-figure donation was the largest charitable contribution in school history.
In 2022, the couple donated $52 million to charity, or about $1 million a week.
Hale is also among 10 people from Massachusetts on the 2023 Forbes Billionaires list, ranking 551st in the world today. He joined the Celtics Investor Group in 2012 after buying a minority stake in the 17-time NBA champions.
According to the school’s website, approximately 59% of UMass Boston students are first-generation college students.