Tom Hanks received a volleyball in honor of his “Castaway” co-star Wilson as he accepted an honorary degree from Harvard University.
The Hollywood actor gave a commencement address to more than 9,000 Harvard graduates at the institution’s 372nd commencement ceremony on Thursday (25.05.23) as he was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts – and he was introduced on stage by outgoing Harvard President Lawrence Bacow. who presented the movie star with a Wilson ball similar to the one featured in his 2000 survival film.
Hanks held the ball in the air before launching into his speech, during which he poked fun at his own lack of college degrees and referenced fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon, whom he played in three films based on Dan Brown’s novels.
The actor told the audience: “It’s not fair, but please don’t be embittered by this fact.
“Now, without having done a single assignment, without having spent any time in class, without having even once entered this library – in order to have anything to do with the promotion of Harvard, its faculty or its alumni distinguished – I make a damn good living playing someone who did. It’s the way of the world, kids.
Hanks also addressed the topic of truth and misinformation in his speech to graduates, warning them of the dangers that exist in the world.
He said: “For some, truth is no longer empirical. It is no longer based on data, or common sense, or even common decency. Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark of service. It is no longer the balm for our fears, or the guide to our actions. Truth is now seen as malleable, by opinion and by zero-sum finals.
“It’s the same option for all adults who must decide to be one of three types of Americans: those who embrace freedom and freedom for all; those who don’t; or those who are indifferent .
“Only the former do the work of creating a more perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others get in the way.”