Tom Hanks has had a whirlwind week as he delivered the commencement speech at Harvard University, hours after jetting home from Cannes Film Festival.
The 66-year-old – who had everyone talking at the premiere of Asteroid City on Tuesday – swapped the red carpet for a red gown as he took to the stage to address this year’s graduates.
Appearing in Massachusetts with a Wilson ball in hand, a reference to his Cast Away role, the Hollywood icon was also awarded with an honorary doctor of arts degree at the ceremony.
He couldn’t help but make light of his own education at the beginning of the speech, and his previous stint as Professor Robert Langdon in the Da Vinci Code.
‘It’s not fair, but please don’t be embittered by this fact. Without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, without once walking into that library in order to have anything to do with the graduating class, Harvard, its faculty, or its distinguished alumna, I make a damn good living playing someone who did,’ he began to laughs from the audience.
‘It’s the way of the world, kids.
‘I don’t know much about Latin, I have no real passion for enzymes, and public global policy is something I scan in the newspaper just before I do the Wordle. And yet here I am.’
After a lengthy message, he concluded: ‘If we do the work, justice and the American way are within our grasp, no matter our gender, our faith, our station, our heritage or genetic makeup, the shade and hue of our flesh, or the continental birthplace of our ancestors.
‘Why is that truth so hard for some to accept, much less respect?
‘If you live in the United States of America, the responsibility is yours, ours. The effort is optional, but the truth, the truth is sacred, unalterable, chiseled into the stone of the foundation of our republic.
‘All of us are able, none of us are super. We are the Americans – liberty and justice is for us all.
‘May goodness and mercy follow you all the days, all the days of your lives.’
Tom isn’t the only famous face who has led the commencement at Harvard, with Natalie Portman and Steven Spielberg among previous guests.
The star’s speech comes after he made headlines over his red carpet appearance in Cannes, where he was celebrating the premiere of his new flick, Asteroid City.
He is starring in Wes Anderson’s latest masterpiece, alongside Scarlett Johansson, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke and Bryan Cranston.
However, he was pictured looking flustered beside wife Rita Wilson at the ceremony, as they spoke to an unnamed man – with many questions over what was happening.
Thankfully, Rita instantly put a stop to the speculation on Instagram, sharing a perfectly reasonable explanation for the photos.
She penned: ‘This is called, “I can’t hear you, people are screaming. What did you say? Where are we supposed to go?”’
‘But that doesn’t sell stories! Nice try. We had a great time! Go see Asteroid City.’
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