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Pat Hamill gives every graduate during University of Denver commencement surprise gift of $500

DU commencement speaker gives every grad surprise $500 gift
DU commencement speaker gives every grad surprise $500 gift 00:42
DU Commencement Speaker Surprises Graduates with $500 Gift | University of Denver by University of Denver on YouTube

It took graduates at the University of Denver's commencement ceremony over the weekend a few moments to get over the surprise of what Pat Hamill had just said. Then they gradually proceeded to all stand up and give the graduation speaker a rousing standing ovation.

Pat Hamill University of Denver

 Hamill announced during the tail end of his speech on Saturday at Magness Arena that every graduate was getting a gift of $500 from him in hopes that they will pay it forward.

Hamill is the CEO of Oakwood Homes and a graduate of DU's Daniels College of Business. He said he has made charitable giving a big focus of his life. He told the grads "Keep it if you really need it. Give it to someone who needs it if you don't. Or combine it with your friends and do something together. That's all. ... Keep it real and do something that matters for someone who needs it."

Two different students who then received their diplomas along with the $500 and a letter from Hamill told DU writer Nika Anschuetz they were thrilled when they heard the announcement.

"The message that came with it was so important, so integral to give to those who are less fortunate. Ultimately, that's the most we can do with anything," Sophia Zulich said. 

"I really enjoyed the message that he was giving more, the pay it forward idea. I think I'm going to take half and go back to my high school and give it to one of my high school students at the summer program," T'Phani Perley said.

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