Wright State University's class of 2020 was one of the many who didn't get to have in-person graduation due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, the class was gifted with a surprise message of encouragement from none other than Tom Hanks.
Tom Hanks, who was the first A-list celebrity to announce that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus along with wife Rita Wilson in March, made a surprise video appearance for the virtual graduation ceremony of Ohio's Wright State University Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures on Saturday. During his virtual speech, the Oscar-winner gave the new grads a pep talk about starting their career in these uncertain times.
The 63-year-old started his speech by extending congratulations to the graduate students and called them the "chosen ones."
"And I am calling you 'chosen ones' because you have been chosen in many ways. First, by the temperament and discipline you've lived by. By the creative fires that are inside of you. And the instinctive lunges of your desires," the "Forrest Gump" actor said.
Hanks added: "There is something about you — all of you — in your upbringing and your background and your conscious memories and your ongoing mysteries. Something that has driven you to complete your courses and achieve your selected challenges and cross the Rubicon of your time there."
The actor noted that people would now view their lives in two parts: Before the coronavirus pandemic and after, and applauded the students for being able to reach a major milestone in the middle of it.
"Part of your lives will forever be identified as 'before' in the same way other generations tell time like, 'Well, 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," the "Cast Away" actor reflected in his heartwarming speech.
The "America's Dad" assured his audience that this too shall pass, and said: "The future is always uncertain, but we who celebrate what you have done, who celebrate all of your achievements, we are certain of one thing on this day: You will not let us down."