Commencement 2005

By Tom Hanks, 2005 commencement speaker

“A simple choice will make a jaw-dropping difference to our world...if merely four people out of a hundred can make gridlock go away by choosing not to use their car, imagine the other changes that can be wrought just by four of us—four of you—out of a hundred....”

Help publicly. Help privately. Help in your actions by recycling and conserving and protecting, but help also in your attitude. Help make sense where sense has gone missing. Help bring reason and respect to discourse and debate. Help science to solve and faith to soothe. Help law bring justice, until justice is commonplace. Help and you will abolish apathy—the void that is so quickly filled by ignorance and evil.


Photo collage of commencement celebrants
Photo collage of commencement celebrants

“Life outside of college is just like life in it: one nutty thing after another, some of them horrible, but all interspersed with enough beauty and goodness to keep you going. That’s your job, to keep going. Your duty is to help—without ceasing. The art you create can glorify it. The science you pursue can prove its value. The law you practice can pass on its benefits. The faith you embrace will make it the earthly manifestation of your God.”

To read Hanks’ and President Fergusson’s commencement remarks, visit www.vassar.edu/commencement.