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He doesn't know much about Latin, enzymes or world politics, but he has learned a lot in life, says Tom Hanks

Photo: Steven Senne / AP

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks can look forward to another award. The 66-year-old actor was awarded an honorary doctorate on Thursday at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the typical graduate outfit – with hat, gown and sash – the Hollywood star stood on stage.

Hanks also gave the speech as a so-called "commencement speaker" at the graduation ceremony of this year's graduates of the elite university. He didn't know much about Latin, enzymes or world politics, but he learned a lot in life, Hanks quipped. In his address, Hanks emphasized the importance of fighting to preserve the truth. He called on the more than 9000,<> graduates to be superheroes who defend the truth and American ideals and oppose those who twist the truth for their own benefit.

"For some, the truth is no longer empirical. It is no longer based on data, no longer on common sense and not even on common decency," said the two-time Oscar winner in his keynote speech. He invoked the Latin word for truth, "veritas," Harvard's motto.

Hanks said that graduates have the choice of belonging to "one of three types of Americans: those who stand up for freedom and freedom for all, those who don't, or those who are indifferent."

At major U.S. universities, it is common for politicians or other celebrities to give a speech to graduates at the celebrations.

Hanks, who recently starred in films such as "Elvis", "Pinocchio" and "A Man Called Otto", presented his new film "Asteroid City" at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week. Wes Anderson's directorial work also stars Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman and Bryan Cranston, among others.