Harvard University celebrates Tom Hanks with an honorary doctorate

Acclaimed actor Tom Hanksdelivered a start address at address Harvard Universityhe received an honorary Doctor of Humanities title and encouraged students to take action against indifference.

The movie star studied theater at Chabot College and graduated from California State University before embarking on a successful acting career that spanned more than 40 years and won two Academy Awards.

Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson recently appeared at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival for the world premiere of their Wes Anderson-directed film “Asteroid City,” which received a standing ovation.

Read on to learn more.

Tom Hanks receives an honorary doctorate

Tom Hanks on the red carpet at the Elvis Sydney premiere - cast and crew

Famous actor Tom Hanks recently captivated the audience at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts when he delivered a unique speech at the commencement ceremony.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the arts, the Ivy League institution awarded Hanks an honorary doctorate in arts. With his trademark wit, the “Cast Away” actor playfully joked about receiving his prestigious degree “without taking a single lick, without spending time in class, without going into that library once.”

“I don’t know much about Latin, I’m not a fan of enzymes, and global public policy is what I read in the newspaper right before creating Wordle,” he humorously remarked to the graduating students. But Hanks delivered a deeper message amid the laughter, encouraging the young graduates to defy “the indifference of a struggle-weary people.”

Tom Hanks encourages graduates to create the ‘perfect union’

Tom Hanks

Hanks’ powerful speech gave a nod to iconic superheroes like Superman, and Hanks passionately conveyed the effect of indifference in his speech to the graduating class. He explained: “Indifference makes citizens captive slaves to despots and tyrants whose default setting is cynicism, who have outlawed dissent and banned art, dialogue, and books.”

Speaking to the enthusiastic graduates, the 66-year-old emphasized that the pivotal decision that must be made is at the center of every day, every year and every generation. “Every day, every year and every graduating class has choices,” he said.

“It is the same opportunity for all adults who must choose to be one of three types of Americans: those who accept freedom and the freedom of all, those who do not, or those who are indifferent. Only the first will do the work of creating a perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others get in the way.”

Harvard University presented a Lecture for the Actor

American actor Tom Hanks (L) and actor Alton Mason arrive at the screening of the film "Elvis" at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 25, 2022.

During Hanks’ visit to Harvard University, the Ivy League institution took the opportunity to pay tribute to his illustrious career. The institution presented Hanks with a Harvard-branded volleyball for his iconic performance in the 2000 film “Cast Away.”

For an added layer of entertainment, talented students from Hasty Pudding, Harvard’s renowned theater group, took the stage for a lively and energetic performance celebrating Hanks’ remarkable contribution to the world of cinema.

Anticipation around Hanks’ appearance has been building since March, when Harvard proudly announced that he would be the honored speaker at the 2023 commencement ceremony. In a statement per PeopleUniversity President Larry Bacow expressed his admiration for the actor, saying he “has contributed to our national culture and expanded our ability to appreciate stories and histories that had not been explored before.”

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson at the Cannes Film Festival

Harvard University celebrates Tom Hanks with an honorary doctorate

Hanks and his beloved wife of 35 years, talented producer and actress Rita Wilson, made a captivating appearance at the prestigious 2023 Cannes Film Festival in a display of star power. The couple graced the red carpet at the much-anticipated world premiere of their film ‘Asteroid City’.

Directed by Wes Anderson, the film received a standing ovation that lasted almost six minutes after its premiere at the international film festival. “Asteroid City” opens in select theaters on June 16th, followed by a nationwide release on June 23rd.

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Hanks’ illustrious career dates back to his early days studying theater at Chabot College. He later graduated from California State University in Sacramento, California, laying the groundwork for a remarkable acting career spanning four decades.

Over the years, Hanks has collected two coveted Academy Awards, cementing his status as a true icon of the silver screen.

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