Tom Hanks to deliver commencement speech to 2023 Harvard graduates

Actor Tom Hanks has been named the Harvard class of 2023 commencement speaker, the university announced. 

Hanks, 66, will be the principal speaker at Harvard’s 372nd Commencement, which will be held in Tercentenary Theater on May 25.

The Academy Award winning-actor joins a list of accomplished recent Harvard Commencement speakers that includes former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, director and frequent Hanks collaborator Steven Spielberg, and late civil rights activist and U..S. representative, John Lewis. 

Hanks will also be awarded an honorary degree, the school said. 

Hanks has been nominated for an Oscar six times, winning best actor for “Philadelphia” in 1993 and “Forrest Gump” the following year. 

His other accolades include the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2014. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. 

Harvard President Larry Bacow called Hanks a “true master of his craft.” 

“Over five decades, he has entertained, enlightened, and befriended us. He has made us laugh, cry, question, and think,” Bacow said in a statement. “In addition to his brilliance as an actor, Tom has demonstrated both an innate empathy and a deep understanding of the human condition.”

“He has contributed to our national culture and expanded our ability to appreciate stories and histories that have been previously unexamined,” Bacow added. “I very much look forward to his address in May.”

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