“Way to go!” Tom Hanks surprises socially distanced graduating class of Ohio’s Wright State University

"Way to go!" Tom Hanks surprises socially distanced graduating class of Ohio's Wright State University

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(OHIO) — Tom Hanks, who, along with wife Rita Wilson, were among the first celebrities to come down with, and recover from, COVID-19, paid it forward with an inspiring video message for the graduating class of Ohio’s Wright State University. 

Like many schools, the university’s Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures graduation ceremony was cancelled in favor of a remote version, though Hanks softened the blow with a personal greeting. 

“You started in the olden times, in a world back before the Great Pandemic of 2020,” Hanks said. “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.”

He two-time Oscar-winner went on: “Sometime, 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.'”

Hanks continued, “You will have made it through a 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.”

“… The future is always uncertain,” Hanks declared, “but we who celebrate what you have done, we are certain of one thing on this day: You will not let us down. Thank you, congratulations, way to go!”

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