Tom Hanks Getting His Honorary Harvard Degree Is Sweeter Than a Box of Chocolates

Tom Hanks joked in his 2023 Harvard Commencement speech that he received his honorary doctorate of arts without "having done a lick of work."

By Angie Orellana Hernandez May 25, 2023 11:43 PMTags
Watch: Tom Hanks Reveals "The Hardest Thing in the World to Do"

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood to receive a Harvard degree—just ask Tom Hanks.

The Oscar winner was granted an honorary doctorate of arts at Harvard University on May 25 before taking to the podium as the 2023 Commencement speaker.

While speaking, Tom joked that—unlike the graduates before him—he had received his degree "without having done a lick of work, without having spent any time in class, without once walking into that library," per People.

"I don't know much about Latin," Tom continued at Harvard Yard's Tercentenary Theatre, "I have no real passion for enzymes, and public global policy is something I scan in the newspaper just before I do the Wordle."

Asides from the jokes, Tom, who studied at Chabot College and California State University, Sacramento, delivered a powerful message about resisting the "indifference of a people who have been made weary by struggle."

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And, as the class of 2023 prepares to leave college, Tom said they now had a choice to make.

"It's the same option for all grown-ups who have to decide to be one of three types of Americans: those who embrace liberty and freedom for all, those who won't or those who are indifferent," the 66-year-old said. "Only the first do the work of creating a more perfect union, a nation indivisible. The others get in the way."


The actor was also gifted a Harvard Veritas Wilson volleyball, in reference to his 2000 movie Cast Away.

Tom's appearance comes days after he and wife Rita Wilson hit the red carpet at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in France for the premiere of his movie Asteroid City. However, the moment raised eyebrows when photos spread online of Tom and Rita in what appeared to be a tense interaction with a worker.


Rita, though, set the record straight.

"'This is called I can't hear you. People are screaming. What did you say? Where are we supposed to go?'" she wrote on Instagram Stories later that day. "But that doesn't sell stories! Nice try. We had a great time! Go see Asteroid City!"

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