Tom Hanks on Chabot College

Hanks is a recipient of The 2014 Kennedy Center Honors Medallion, December 2014. Credit: Wikipedia.

It's a good day for Chabot College admissions.  

In today's New York Times, Tom Hanks -- the Tom Hanks -- salutes Chabot College in Hayward, California for making him who he is today: 

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For thousands of commuting students, Chabot was our Columbia, Annapolis, even our Sorbonne, offering courses in physics, stenography, auto mechanics, certified public accounting, foreign languages, journalism — name the art or science, the subject or trade, and it was probably in the catalog. The college had a nursing program that churned out graduates, sports teams that funneled athletes to big-time programs, and parking for a few thousand cars — all free but for the effort and the cost of used textbooks.
 
Classmates included veterans back from Vietnam, women of every marital and maternal status returning to school, middle-aged men wanting to improve their employment prospects and paychecks.
 

Hanks is responding to reports that President Obama wants to make community college free for up to nine million Americans. Needless to say, Hanks supports the proposal.

Hanks's essay is notable not just because of the byline, but because of how well-written it is. This is good prose, full of detail and imagery and a telling anecdote that gives a sense of the man behind the movie star: 

A public speaking class was unforgettable for a couple of reasons. First, the assignments forced us to get over our self-consciousness. Second, another student was a stewardess, as flight attendants called themselves in the ’70s. She was studying communications and was gorgeous. She lived not far from me, and when my VW threw a rod and was in the shop for a week, she offered me a lift to class. I rode shotgun that Monday-Wednesday-Friday totally tongue-tied. Communicating with her one on one was the antithesis of public speaking.
 

See the full op-ed here.  

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