Harvard University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Arts degree upon the legendary actor Tom Hanks on Thursday, further adding to his extensive collection of accolades.
Introducing Hanks by some of his most iconic roles, Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow called Hanks, “Wilson’s bestie, Buzz’s buddy, Ryan’s savior, [and] America’s dad.”
Bacow sang praises of Hank’s wide range of roles, “with wit and grace, grit and gumption, his performances tap the heart and soul and show us why in Tom we trust.”
Hanks, 66, was amused when he was gifted a Wilson volleyball – a reference to his 2000 hit Cast Away.
During his 30-minute acceptance speech, Hanks touched on racism and said, “For what are we all, but human?”
Referring to himself as an “armchair historian who reads non-fiction for pleasure,” he talked about justice in America.
“If you live in the United States of America, the trust is sacred, unalterable, chiseled into the stone of the foundation of our republic,” he said.
“When it comes to our race, there are many models, but only one chassis. None of us are super, but we are the Americans, unique in our willingness to admit that when it comes to our race, we are all but human”
Meanwhile, Hanks’s family has told PEOPLE that the delighted actor has asked them to call him a doctor. His son Truman says, “I’m calling him doctor — even if it’s only honorary”.