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University of Denver Graduates Receive Surprise $500 Gift at Commencement Ceremony

DENVER, June 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, June 10, 2023, the University of Denver celebrated the graduation of over 1,150 undergraduate students. For the Class of 2023, this moment may have seemed unimaginable three years earlier as the then-freshmen were confronted with the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

DU graduates receive surprise $500 gift as the graduation speaker shares message of paying it forward and help others.

Delivering this year's commencement address was Pat Hamill, chairman and CEO of Oakwood Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway company. He shared with the graduates and their families the importance of philanthropy, the joy of giving and the impact of paying it forward. Hamill gifted to each graduate in attendance $500 and delivered this message:

"Keep it if you really need it. Give it to someone who really needs it if you don't. Or combine it with your friends and do something together. Keep it real and do something that matters for someone who needs it," Hamill said.

Hamill has been a longtime supporter and philanthropist in the Denver community by donating both his time and resources to the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver and the Early Childhood Commission. In 1997 he launched BuildStrong Education, an Oakwood Homes Foundation, with a focus on educational programs and initiatives. BuildStrong has invested millions of dollars since its inception. Hamill is also the founder of the STEAD School and the Colorado Homebuilding Academy.

University of Denver Chancellor Jeremy Haefner thanked Hamill for his generous gift and reinforced the message to the graduates.

"I hope your minds are spinning on what good each of you can do to "pay it forward"?in ways big and small?that improve communities," Haefner said. "Each act toward serving the public good compounding on itself, gaining momentum and changing lives. And it can all start today."

Video of the surprise gift announcement is on the University of Denver YouTube page.

About the University of Denver:

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is a private university that empowers students who want to make a difference. Recognized as one of the top research universities in the country, DU has more than 300 academic programs serving about 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students. DU students benefit from an experience that channels passion to serve the public good. Visit the University's Newsroom or follow the University on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

SOURCE University of Denver

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