Harvard University awarded the esteemed actor Tom Hanks an honorary Doctor of Arts degree, adding to his illustrious collection of accolades. Recognizing his iconic roles and diverse performances, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow introduced Hanks by referencing his memorable characters and hailed him as “Wilson’s bestie, Buzz’s buddy, Ryan’s savior, [and] America’s dad.” In his acceptance speech, Hanks touched on significant themes such as racism and the importance of trust in America, showcasing his perspective as an “armchair historian” and his belief in the fundamental humanity that unites us all.
President Bacow commended Hanks’ remarkable range of roles, praising his ability to captivate audiences with his wit, grace, grit, and gumption. The esteemed actor’s performances have consistently touched the hearts and souls of viewers, earning him the trust and admiration of fans worldwide.
During the honorary degree ceremony, Hanks was presented with a Wilson volleyball, a playful nod to his renowned film “Cast Away” released in 2000. The delighted actor accepted the gift with amusement, showcasing his trademark sense of humor. In his acceptance speech, Hanks delved into weighty topics, discussing the issue of racism and highlighting the shared humanity that binds us all together.
As a self-professed “armchair historian” who finds pleasure in reading non-fiction, Hanks touched on the importance of trust in American society. He emphasized that trust is a sacred and unalterable element woven into the very fabric of the nation’s foundation. Hanks expounded on the notion that despite diverse racial backgrounds, every American shares a common humanity, acknowledging that while none of us are superheroes, we are all fundamentally human.
Hanks’ joyous family shared their excitement with PEOPLE magazine, revealing that the acclaimed actor humorously requested them to address him as “doctor” following the honorary degree. His son Truman playfully expressed his commitment to honoring his father’s request, declaring, “I’m calling him doctor—even if it’s only honorary.” The lighthearted moment captures the warmth and affection within the Hanks family.
Tom Hanks’ recognition with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Harvard University is a testament to his remarkable career and the indelible impact he has made on the world of cinema. Celebrated for his versatile performances and beloved characters, Hanks continues to resonate with audiences across generations. In his acceptance speech, he shared profound insights on the themes of trust and racial unity, reminding us of the shared humanity that transcends our differences. With his infectious charm and dedication to his craft, Tom Hanks remains an iconic figure in the entertainment industry and a beloved cultural treasure.