tom hanks

tom hanks

The 10 Best Celebrity College Commencement Speeches

Graduation memories are unfolding for college students at campuses across the country. Some are lucky enough to have speeches presented by the foremost thinkers of our time. Don’t discount them because of their celebrity. They’re bright, interesting, see the world from a different angle, and often leave otherwise stodgy commencement speeches feeling a little lighter.

We’ve rounded up the commencement speeches given by actors, actresses, and even tech giants that left us inspired, humbled, and in stitches.

In 2006, Stephen Colbert gave the commencement speech at Knox College, a private liberal arts school in Galesburg, IL. His opening remarks played on his thinly veiled real life/television persona. “I play someone on television named Stephen Colbert. He looks like me and talks like me, but with a straight face, says things he doesn’t mean. I’m not sure which one of us you invited here today.”

It didn’t take long to figure out which Stephen Colbert showed up. In his trademark farcical, news anchor style, he was light on the wisdom and heavy on “truthiness.” He somehow pulled off a law student/beer pong/Dred Scott joke, and claimed to have attended Knox College. “It doesn’t get reported much, partly because the press doesn’t do proper research, and partly because it’s not true,” he said.

It only took him 18 minutes, but he finally squeezed in some genuine remarks. He talked about his experience with improvisational comedy troupes, and how the spontaneity imitated life. “You’re about to start the greatest improv of all. You’ll have no script, no idea…and you are not in control. So say yes, and if you are lucky, people will say yes back,” he said. “Saying yes begins things, saying yes is how things grow. Yes is for young people, and that’s the word.” Read the rest of this entry »



Larry Crowne Offers a Different View of Higher Education

It’s a common story that is becoming more and more common these days: a hardworking man who has been loyal to his place of employment loses his job due to budget cuts. Desperate to improve his station in life, the man decides to pursue a higher education in hopes that this will allow him to find another job and maybe even improve his overall quality of life. Since this is somewhat of a new trend in today’s workforce and education frontiers, it only makes sense that Tom Hanks‘ and Julia Roberts‘ new movie, Larry Crowne, would address this subject.

In Larry Crowne, Hanks portrays the title character, a hardworking man who loses his job at a Wal-Mart-like store. After sitting around his home for a few days, he decides to enroll in an economic and pubic speaking course at his local community college. Roberts plays one of Larry’s teachers, Mercedes Tianot. However, Mercedes dislikes being a teacher and it is quite obvious that she has other things she would rather do than teach a public speaking course, as evidenced by her temporary thrill when she thinks her class only has nine students and, therefore, does not meet the school’s enrollment requirements. As the movie progresses, Larry must learn to overcome his age difference from the other students. It is the relationships that form between Larry, Mercedes, and the other students that keeps this movie interesting.

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Tom Hanks’ Education Background

Actor Tom HanksThomas Jeffery “Tom” Hanks was born July 9, 1956 in Concord, California. His parents , who later divorced, are the late Amos Mefford Hanks and Janet Marylyn Hanks. Hanks was the third of his parent’s four children. Hanks’ parent’s remarried multiple times. Hanks has step siblings.  After the divorce, Hank’s remained with is father and attended Skyline High School in Oakland, California. In High School Hanks’ discovered his love of acting. He starred in school productions, including South Pacific.

Hanks went to Chabot Community College in Hayward, California to study theater. After two years he transferred to California State University, Sacramento. While studying theater, Hanks became an intern at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleavland, Ohio. His three-year internship covered all the major aspects of theater. This caused Hanks to drop out of college.

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