Tom Hanks receives honorary degree from Harvard University, jokes about not 'having spent any time in class'
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS: Tom Hanks, 66, had the honor of being an honorary graduate of Harvard University. He was invited to deliver a commencement address to the graduating students in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday, May 25.
Hanks served as the principal speaker at Harvard's 372nd Commencement, which took place in Harvard Yard's Tercentenary Theatre. The event featured various ceremonial elements, including processions, speeches, music, prayers, and the awarding of over 9,000 degrees to the newly graduated students from Harvard College and the University's graduate schools.
Taylor Swift delivers inspiring NYU commencement speech, Swifties say 'proud of you'
Slain University of Idaho students remembered for their ‘strength and inspiration' as they are awarded posthumous degrees
Hanks received the degree 'without having done a lick of work'
In a light-hearted manner, Tom Hanks jokingly remarked that he received the degree "without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, without once walking into that library." "I don't know much about Latin, I have no real passion for enzymes, and public global policy is something I scan in the newspaper just before I do the Wordle," he joked to graduates, before urging students to stand up against the "indifference of a people who have been made weary by struggle."
#Harvard23 Commencement Speaker Tom Hanks 🎓 pic.twitter.com/rEM8pSIDsi— Harvard University (@Harvard) May 25, 2023
In his inspiring speech, Hanks referenced Harvard University's motto, "Veritas," which is the Latin word for truth. "For the truth to some is no longer empirical. It's no longer based on data, nor common sense, nor even common decency," he said. "Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service. It’s no longer the salve to our fears, or the guide to our actions. Truth is now considered malleable, by opinion and by zero-sum endgames," he said.
"Indifference makes citizens into indentured servants held in labor by the despots and tyrants whose default setting is cynicism, who outlawed dissent and ban art and dialogue and books," Hanks said, during the speech filled with references to Superman and other superheroes. "Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a choice to be made," Hanks told the graduating class. "It’s the same option for all grown-ups who have to decide to be one of three types of Americans: those who embrace liberty and freedom for all, those who won’t or those who are indifferent. Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, a nation indivisible. The others get in the way."
Harvard University also presented Hanks with a Harvard-branded volleyball as a playful nod to his role in the 2000 film 'Cast Away'. Additionally, students from the university's theatrical group 'Hasty Pudding' performed a number that highlighted the actor's notable film credits before he delivered his speech.
'Incredible from Mr Hanks!'
Tom Hanks's presence at the prestigious University delighted students and fans, who eagerly took to social media to congratulate the actor and express their excitement. One fan wrote on Twitter, "God..I love that man Only he can speak of the simple truths of being fair..with out belittling those who are indifferent. Everything Tom Hanks does, he believes in, and sets the example in. Tom Hanks..he’s the man or women who ever he’s playing." Another said, "Great speech! Got to look for the complete speech." A third added, "Wow, he said exactly what everyone already thinks represents their own point of view. Well done." "Incredible from Mr Hanks!!!" wrote a fourth.
God..I love that man— Julie Lucas Runco❕ (@makeart) May 25, 2023
Only he can speak of the simple truths of being fair..with out belittling those who are indifferent.
Everything Tom Hanks does, he believes in, and sets the example in.
Tom Hanks..he’s the man or women who ever he’s playing.
Great speech! Got to look for the complete speech.— June Dean (@jmdean946) May 25, 2023
Wow, he said exactly what everyone already thinks represents their own point of view. Well done.— Jesse Newman (@Filmantopia) May 26, 2023
Incredible from Mr Hanks!!!— Keith Horton (@KeithKhorton) May 25, 2023
Twitter was abuzz with excitement as several students, staff, and parents of Harvard University shared candid photos and videos of Tom Hanks during his visit. The Harvard Medical School Dean George Q Daley also posed for a selfie with the actor before the Commencement.
just saw tom hanks give his speech at harvard commencement y’all!! pic.twitter.com/ArBt7xuY4H— ana ｡ﾟ･☆ (@PRADAYSL) May 25, 2023
HMS Dean George Q. Daley pauses for a selfie with Tom Hanks before #Harvard23 Commencement pic.twitter.com/L7t64BfYND— Harvard Medical School (@harvardmed) May 25, 2023
With Tom Hanks, the Harvard community, family, and friends in celebrating the @Harvard Class of 2023! Congratulations! @Kennedy_School pic.twitter.com/ETtMWPhQGO— Tram T. Nguyen (@TeamTram) May 25, 2023
This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.