Already one of the most decorated and acclaimed actors in movie history, Tom Hanks added a new achievement to his resume when gave home address at the Harvard University graduation on Thursday.
The two-time Oscar winner, who received an honorary doctorate of arts from the prestigious school, opened his speech with a joke about how he never had to study for his degree, alluding to his role as fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon in “The movies The Da Vinci Code”.
“It’s not fair, but please don’t be bitter about this fact,” Hanks joked.
“Now, without having done one iota of work, without having spent any time in class, without ever once entering that library, to have anything to do with the Harvard graduating class, its faculty, or its distinguished alumni, I make a damn good living playing someone who did it.”
Hanks, who reminded the audience that he spent two years in the Chabot Community of California and attended California State University, Sacramento for two semesters, then dove into a heavily superhero-referenced speech, with multiple mentions of “ truth, justice and the American way. ”
“We could all use a superhero right now,” he said at one point.
The “Forrest Gump” star, who also received a school volleyball, a reference to Wilson in “Cast Away,” continued to focus on the truth as an important part of our lives is under threat.
“Because the truth, for some, is no longer empirical. It is no longer based on data or common sense or even common decency,” he said.
“Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service. It is no longer the balm for our fears or the guide for our actions. The truth is now considered malleable, by opinion, by zero-sum endgames,” he explained. “Images are fabricated with audacity, with the purpose of achieving the paramount task of marring the truth with a feigned logic to achieve it with a false expertise, with a false sincerity.”
Hanks continued to delve into the importance of the truth while lamenting how many people “play fast and loose” with it and how “indifference” is their enemy.
“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 have to decide to be one of three types of Americans: those who embrace freedom for all, those who don’t, or those who are indifferent. Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others get in the way.
The actor then shared some powerful words on standing up for what’s right.
“In the endless battle in which everyone has officially joined as of today, the difference is how truly they believe, how vociferously they promote, how firmly they cling to the self-evident truth: that of course we are. all created equal but differently, and of course we are all in this together,” he said.
As his speech came to a close, Hanks reminded the graduates of the need to safeguard the truth.
“If you live in the United States of America, the responsibility is yours. Our. Effort is optional, but truth is sacred, unchangeable, chiseled into the foundation stone of our republic,” he said.