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Tom Hanks Surprises Wright State University's Graduating Class With Inspiring Video Message

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Tom Hanks never fails to delight and inspire.

The celebrated actor had a special surprise for students graduating from Ohio's Wright State University, who weren't able to celebrate graduation in person due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Hanks -- who was one of the first big stars to reveal he'd contracted COVID-19 back in early March, and has subsequently recovered -- taped a virtual message of support for the graduating class, and congratulated them on their success and potential in the strange new future landscape of the world.

"Congratulations to you chosen ones... You are the chosen ones because of a fate unimagined when you began your Wright State adventures," the 63-year-old two-time Oscar winner said in a personal video message posted to the University's social media pages shortly before the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures' virtual graduation ceremony. 

"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."

The celebrated star, who once again cemented his status as America's Dad with this emotional speech, explained that the graduating students are entering the post-college world "during the great reset, or the the great re-boot" of the social consciousness.

"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,'" he continued. "You will be enlightened in ways your degree from Wright State never held in promise.  "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."

"You chosen ones are going to form the new structures, and define the new realities and make the new world," Hanks concluded. "The world after all that we have been through… the future is always uncertain, 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!"

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were among the first celebrities to reveal that they'd been diagnosed with COVID-19 back in March 11, while in Australia. After a few days of hospitalization, the couple self-quarantined in a house in Queensland for several weeks, before returning to their home in Los Angeles.

Hanks previously addressed his experiences with the coronavirus when he made a surprise remote appearance during the first Saturday Night Live: At Home special, where he introduced the episode.

Check out the video below to hear more from Hanks about his own COVID-19 battle.

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