Quincy College students get green surprise on graduation day

QUINCY, Mass. — Hundreds of Quincy College students got quite a surprise on graduation day. A local CEO gave each student cash with one condition: half the money had to be gifted to someone else or a charity that could use it more than them.

This year’s commencement speaker Rob Hale, who is the CEO of Granite Telecommunications, wanted to give every student the experience of giving. In Friday’s ceremony, he surprised the students with a last-minute announcement before they got their degrees.

“We are going to give you each $1,000 cash right now. We are proud of you; you worked your tails off to get here. Celebrate as you should,” Hale said in the speech.

The only condition on the $1000: students had to give half of it away.

“Give to another organization or another group of family members. Anyone who could use the money more than them. We want them to give it to them,” Hale said.

Graduate Deb Williamson and Hassan Warfa could not believe it.

“I’m completely shocked. Completely shocked,” Williamson said.

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“Unexpected...surprised,” Warfa said.

The cash was given out when they got their degrees. Some of the handshakes turned into hugs. Carla Pena was in disbelief.

“Definitely something a lot of people needed. Students, parents and everybody. Such a blessing. I’m in awe. I’m still in shock,” Pena said.

Some of the students we talked to already had a charity in mind to give their donation to.

“I’m going to give it to Communities for People. My parents are foster parents for almost 15 years and they definitely need it,” Pena said.

The Jimmy Fund is going to get the gift. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here,” Williamson said.