The senior graduating class in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio received a grounded and inspirational virtual commencement speech from Tom Hanks on Saturday.
The Oscar-winning actor, who recovered from coronavirus along with his wife Rita Wilson, delivered the speech via Facebook and addressed the pandemic, the lockdown and how it affected their graduation, telling the seniors that they are “the chosen ones.”
“I’m here to say congratulations,” he said. “Congratulations to you chosen ones…and I am calling you ‘the 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 distinctive lunges of your desires.”
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He continued, 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 across the rubicon of your time there, your studies at Wright State. You succeeded because of the aid and the love of others that are in your lives, without a doubt. But you have succeeded mostly because you, and you alone, chose to do so. You are the chosen ones.”
He went on to say how the class will reflect on “the Great Pandemic of 2020” and how they will leave school during “The great reset.”
“You will have made it through the time of great sacrifice and great need,” he added. “And no one will be more fresh to the task of restarting our measure of normalcy than you…you chosen ones.”
Hanks ended by pointing out that the future is unclear, but that he is certain of one thing. “You will not let us down,” he told the graduates.
Watch the full speech below.
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