The actor gave a graduation address to graduates at the famous institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The actor received an honorary doctorate of arts from the institution, which he quipped was conferred upon him without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, and without ever walking into that library.
He does not know much about Latin; he has no genuine enthusiasm for enzymes; and public global policy is something he scans in the newspaper just before he does the Wordle, the modest actor revealed.
But after loosening up the audience with a few knee-slapping jokes, Hanks started invoking analogies from America’s superhero-obsessed society.
He referred to Superman’s legacy while pushing the class of 2023 to uphold the promise of their promised country.
They are all in a cage match, a mixed martial arts battle royale with agents of hubris, apathy, intolerance, and braying incompetence — the malevolent equals to imperial Stormtroopers, Lex Luthor, and Loki, he told the audience.
And they all could use a superhero right now.
He next discussed apathy as the ‘nemesis’ of truth.
Every day, every year, and for every graduating class, there is a decision to be made, he said.
It’s the same choice for all adults who must choose between three types of Americans: those who welcome liberty and freedom for all, those who don’t, and those who are indifferent.
Only the first do the work of forming a more perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others obstruct.
In an homage to Wilson from Cast Away, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who was presiding over his final graduation before leaving, also presented Hanks with a Harvard volleyball.
The actor’s address was widely praised, with one person writing on Twitter, “Tom Hanks is America’s Dad.”
Another person said, “Tom Hanks has such a beautiful speaking voice.”
“Love this short but important portion of Tom Hanks’ speech,” said a third. Being logical seems so obvious to me, but I’m learning propaganda and fear are VERY powerful lead characters in human civilizations. Spread happiness, not hate.”
Another joke: “Congrats to the Class of ’23, and make sure you hand Tom Hanks your screenplay before he hops on the T.”
He may not have studied, but he certainly made up for it with extra credit.
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