Tom Hanks

One of Hollywood’s most loved actors and honorary citizen of Greece, Tom Hanks surprised a group of lucky college seniors at Wright State University with a heartfelt graduation video message.

The Oscar-winning actor and his wife Rita Wilson were two of the first celebrities to reveal their positive coronavirus diagnosis in March.

“You are the chosen ones because of a fate unimagined when you began your Wright State adventures,” he said.

“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 — ‘Well, that was back before the COVID-19. That was before the great pandemic.’ 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…Sometimes, if we all remain good Americans, you will continue on into the ‘after.’ As in ‘that was after the virus was tamed,’ ‘after we were safe to go out again,’ ‘after we took up our probable lives once more.’”

He continued: “You will be enlightened in ways your degree from Wright State never held in promise. You will have made it through the time of great sacrifice and great need and no one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our measure of normalcy than you, you chosen ones. You chosen ones are going to form the new structures, and define the new realities and make the new world. The world after all that we have been through.”

“The future is always uncertain,” Hanks concluded. “…We are certain of one thing on this day — you will not let us down. Thank you. Congratulations.”

According to the university, Joe Deer, artistic director and chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures says Hanks’ message “was something we all needed to hear. A message of hope.”