Tom Hanks Surprises Graduating Class With Commencement Speech

Tom Hanks surprised Wright State University’s graduating class with a commencement speech. As with most schools in the United States, the Ohio university had to go with a virtual graduation ceremony. But, what was completely out of the ordinary was the fact that Hanks stopped by with his own virtual message for the class of 2020. Wright State has a prior relationship with the actor after they chose to name their Motion Picture center after him back in 2016. Now, Hanks steps forward with a message of hope for all those students who saw their big graduation plans go up in a puff of smoke this spring. Social media was filled with pictures of high school students who had to show off the prom fits in the driveway. Not to mention all the college graduates that will head out into the unknown after this coronavirus pandemic wraps up.

"You are the chosen ones because of a fate unimagined when you began your Wright State adventures,” the beloved actor began. “You started in the olden times, in a world back before the Great Pandemic of 2020. You will talk of those earlier years in your lives in just that way. Part of your lives will forever be identified as 'before,' in the same way other generations tell time like 'that was before the war, or 'that was before the internet,' or 'that was before Beyoncé.' The word 'before' is going to carry great weight with you.”

"You’ve gone from student to graduate with more that is expected of you than to just be an American. You’ve had to be responsible Americans. You’ve had to be good Americans. Good Americans that have made sacrifices that have saved lives,” he continued. “You'll reference these past weeks for how many other weeks there are to come as 'during the pandemic.' During the COVID-19, during the lockdown, the quarantine, the shelter-in-place.' But your 'after' is not going to look the same as your during and your ‘before.’”

Hanks concluded, ”You will be enlightened in ways your degree never held in promise. You will have made it through a time of great sacrifice and great need. No one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our normalcy than you — our chosen ones."

All of this is very inspiring, and exactly what you would expect from a man who so many people love. Even if the world is going to be a more uncertain place, All of these young people will have to face that reality with their heads held high, and now they’ll have some wise words to reflect on.

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Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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