Tom Hanks gives commencement speech via video, calls students ‘chosen ones’ for surviving ‘Great Pandemic of 2020’

Hollywood veteran Tom Hanks gave an inspiring commencement address to the Wright State University’s graduating class of 2020, who could not have an in-person ceremony in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The 63-year-old actor, who recently recovered from Covid-19, sent a surprise video message to the Ohio institution students over the weekend, reported Entertainment Weekly.

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Hanks called the graduates the “chosen ones” not only for their academic achievements but also for entering the real world during a time when the world was witnessing change and upheaval. “You are the chosen ones because of a fate unimagined when you began your Wright State adventures. 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,” he said in a video.


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From now on, the Oscar winner said, eras will be defined as pre- and post-coronavirus. “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 Beyonce’. The word ‘before’ is going to carry great weight with you.” Calling this time “the great reboot”, the actor said while the “after” for grads may never look the same as their lives pre-coronavirus, their accomplishments and experiences will prepare them for challenges ahead.

“You will be enlightened in ways your degree from Wright State never held in promise. You will have made it through a time of great sacrifice and great need. And no one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our normalcy than you — our chosen ones,” he said.

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In 2016, the Hollywood star was honoured with the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures at the university.

Also read: Tom Hanks posts pictures of himself donating plasma, says ‘It’s as easy as taking a nap’

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The first Hollywood personalities to have Covid-19 infection, Hanks and Wilson revealed their diagnosis on March 11. They returned home to Los Angeles at the end of March after quarantining and recovering from their symptoms. The couple was in Australia for the pre-production of Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley film from Warner Bros, when they contracted the disease. Hanks stars as Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

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