Former student, Hanks, should come by for a visit

Victor Nieto:

Ryan T Kern

Victor Nieto:

Victor Nieto

Undoubtedly when we think of the men and women with the greatest compassion for our great country we assume such active political names as John McCain, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, but why not Thomas Jeffrey Hanks?

Yes, Sacramento State’s very own two-semester student Tom Hanks.

Be it Saving Private Ryan (actor) or Band of Brothers (producer), Hanks has helped resurrect history, showing the plights of these men and women who gave their lives for their country. Most importantly, these productions emphasized the loyalty and brotherhood that many of our soldiers are fighting for now in Iraq.

With Hank’s recent adaptation of David McCullough’s novel “John Adams” (executive producer), we get a glimpse into the initial beginnings of our country through the politicians who helped create it. Namely, we see this through the eyes of John Adams, a key player in the initial stages of the Revolutionary War and the creator of our democratic government.

In grade school Adams seemed to be left out when recalling on our founding fathers or omitted in his position as General George Washington’s vice president and role as the second United States president. Often his place in history is overshadowed by the aura of Washington, the wit of Thomas Jefferson, the brilliance of Benjamin Franklin or the signature of John Hancock. But in this series we get a chance to see what’s going on behind the curtain of appearances as well as an introduction to one of his top advisers, his wife, Abigail Smith Adams.

It’s a great series and great cast (Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney lead) with great emotional impact and insight regarding the life of John Adams, the rise of the Revolution and the character of a man oftentimes doing the right thing amid rapturous opposition. But after watching the series and reflecting on Hanks’ earlier work, I felt a bit unsatisfied. I felt a bit like Adams, myself being Sac State, being ignored or better put, overlooked, by our most famous fellow Hornets. I have a great admiration for all Sac State alumni, especially the ones who make it a point to give back to their school or show some sort of school spirit, but there are some things that money can’t buy.

Of course donations from alumni are vastly important in our school’s growth but in today’s media-dominated society, publicity and exposure are far more valuable. It troubles me when I read about our vast high-profile graduate or student, yet never hear or see them making a trip back to campus.

I may be na’ve about how the alumni thing works, but shouldn’t our university representatives make it their priority to get these people here? Could you imagine the positive publicity that would come from Hanks stopping by in the fall to welcome the newly formed film studies program? Or how about doing a promotional stop and interview for his next film? Even if it’s to just drop by the campus and donate a few maps to the history department. I heard from somewhere that we’re in short supply.

What kind of impression might that leave on a prospective student debating on whether to attend Sac State or another California State University campus? It definitely wouldn’t hurt our campus’ appearance.

But, alas, I know my wistful desires are merely dreams that I’ll probably never see fulfilled by Hanks. Or for that matter, the many other high-profile alumni in film, TV, government or business.

However, it’s still nice to know that through all of Hanks’ work, some of the best has been focused on America. From its birth, to uprising in power and to the superpower that it is today, America is something Tom Hanks still has great love for. I just wish some of that love was for Sac State, too.