Tom Hanks Named Harvard’s 2023 Commencement Speaker

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On May 25th, Harvard will be presenting Tom Hanks with an honorary doctorate degree. The ivy league university has chosen the actor to be their speaker at this year’s commencement.

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Pomp and Grandeur

On Tuesday, it was announced that Hanks, 66, will be the main speaker at the 372nd commencement ceremony at Harvard University, which will take place on Thursday, May 25th in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The president of the university released an official statement regarding the selection. “A true master of his craft, Tom Hanks has given life to some of the most compelling, beloved, and iconic characters on the screen. Over five decades, he has entertained, enlightened, and befriended us. He has made us laugh, cry, question, and think.”

“In addition to his brilliance as an actor, Tom has demonstrated both an innate empathy and a deep understanding of the human condition,” Bacow added. “He has contributed to our national culture and expanded our ability to appreciate stories and histories that have been previously unexamined. I very much look forward to his address in May.”

Previous Harvard commencement speakers include Prairie View A&M University President Ruth Simmons, the late U.S. politician and legislator John Lewis, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.

Looking Back

The honor is well-deserved, though recently in an interview with The Great Creators with Guy Raz, Hanks expressed some “self-doubt that is pure neurosis” about his career.

“I wrestle with authenticity,” the actor shared. “I wrestle with the difference between lying for a living as an actor and lying to myself as a human being.”

He also mentioned refraining from viewing some of his own films  because of “the falsehood in them. I see the loss. I see that one time, ‘Oh, man, I missed that opportunity.’ “

“And it’s not because, at the moment, I chose not to — it’s because, after it was done, I realized I didn’t go far enough. I didn’t go to the place that I could have gone,” he added.

Read More: Tom Hanks Speaks About Nepotism Backlash: ‘My Kids Are in a Family Business’ (

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  1. Harvard was founded first and foremost to train ministers of the gospel. This choice for a commencement speaker well illustrates how far they have strayed from the vision it was built upon. However, it’s not necessarily over for them. The youth prayer revival sweeping college campuses will touch Harvard also.

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