Tom Hanks Urges Harvard Graduates To Resist Indifference As He Criticizes Lying Public Servants: ‘Truth Is Sacred’
Tom Hanks told Harvard University graduates Thursday to be superheroes in standing up for the truth and American ideals, and to resist those who twist the truth for their own gain.
“Because the truth for some is no longer empirical. It’s no longer based on data, or common sense, or even common decency,” the two-time Academy Award winner said during his keynote address. He invoked that the Latin word for truth is “veritas,” Harvard’s motto.
“Telling the truth is no longer the benchmark for public service,” he said. “It is no longer the balm for our fears, or the guide for our actions. The truth is now considered malleable, by opinion and by zero-sum endings.
That left the more than 9,000 graduates at Harvard’s 372nd graduation with a decision to make, said the Hollywood icon, who has played an astronaut, a soldier, a little boy in a man’s body and even a professor of mathematics. Harvard in a decades-long film career. .
“It’s the same choice for all adults who have to decide to be one of three types of Americans: those who embrace freedom and freedom for all; those who won’t; or those who are indifferent,” she said. “Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, an indivisible nation. The others get in the way.
Near the end of the speech, he made the point to a group that included not only college students, but also those who graduated from Harvard extension and professional schools.
“The responsibility is yours. Our. Effort is optional. But the truth, the truth is sacred. Unalterable. Chiseled in the stone and in the foundations of our republic, ”he said.
Hanks, who received an honorary doctorate of arts, poked fun at his own lack of academic credentials on a stage packed with some of the world’s brightest minds and leading scientists.
“It’s not fair, but please don’t be bitter about this fact,” Hanks said. “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 very good living playing someone who did it,” he said, referring to his portrayal of fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon in three films based on Dan Brown’s novels: “The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons” and “Hell”.
“It’s the way of the world, kids,” he said to a chorus of laughter.
Before Hanks headed to the podium to deliver his speech, Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, presiding over his last graduation before leaving office, called Hanks “Wilson’s best friend, Buzz’s friend, Ryan’s savior.” , the father of the United States,” and handed him a Harvard volleyball, in homage to his role in “Cast Away,” where his character talks to an old volleyball to keep himself sane.
Hanks proved to be the most popular person on stage, posing for selfies with faculty members before the ceremony and congratulating dozens of Harvard students who graduated summa cum laude.
“May goodness and mercy follow you every day,” he said, referencing a Bible verse. “All the days of your lives. Good luck.”