Actor and director John Krasinski returned to Brown University to deliver the Baccalaureate address to the school’s undergraduate Class of 2019.
Before his Boston Bruins play in the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday, Krasinski — who grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Brown in 2001 with a degree in theatre arts — delivered a funny and inspiring speech to the new class of Brown graduates at the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America on Saturday.
“People ask me how I got into acting, and the truth is, I didn’t get into acting. I got into everything,” Krasinski recalled of his time at Brown, also sharing a few jokes from his student years. “For the next four years I wanted to be part of it all, I formed a new way of thinking. A new way to execute those thoughts. I left my comfort zone and then stayed there, and left again.”
The star added, “Real change is organic. The only responsibility you all have is to hold fast to everything you have lived, right here. To not conform, to realize that when you’re out there, you’ve done all this before. Remember fondly the discomfort you felt when you were asked to push yourself farther than you were ever sure you could go. And the elation when you finally got there.”
Krasinski also advised the graduates to “remember to believe in something,” adding, “Fall in love as many times as it takes.”
“Remember before you do something special, just do something,” he shared.
Krasinkski, 39, rose to stardom thanks to his role as Jim Halpert in NBC’s The Office, but since the program went off the air in 2013, he has since taking up the lead role in the Amazon Prime Original series, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and also starred and directed in the 2018 hit A Quiet Place, alongside his wife, Emily Blunt, whom he shares two children with.
Along with Krasinski, the university will also be bestowing honorary degrees to filmmaker Ken Burns and five other notable philanthropists and leaders on Sunday.
According to the university, past commencement speakers have included performer, rapper and writer Daveed Diggs; director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian Kevin Gover; former San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan; forest ecologist Nalini Moreshwar Nadkarni; and Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan.