Actor Tom Hanks was at Wright State University on Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures.

Why Tom Hanks’ visit to Dayton is one for the history books

Famous actor coming to town to dedicate game-changing Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures

The large wall calendar that hangs in the Equipment Room at Wright State University’s new Tom Hanks Center of Motion Pictures makes it obvious that Tuesday, April 19, is going to be a red letter day for the school.

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“TOM HANKS!” it reads in large red capital letters surrounded by hand-drawn stars.

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W. Stuart McDowell, professor, chair and artistic director of the Department of Theatre, Dance and Motion Pictures, said Hanks has put Wright State on the map in a big kind of way and helped to ensure that the school has state-of-the-art facilities.

“Our film department is thrilled finally to have a facility worthy of its faculty and talented students,” he said, adding that he and his colleagues are looking forward to honoring Hanks this week for all he has done for the University over the years. Patrons at the recent ArtsGala got a sneak peak of the new two-story art gallery, dance and stage combat studios that are part of the renovated Creative Arts Center. The $27 million renovation project is slated to be completed by the end of August.

Here's some of what the famous actor/director will be doing and experiencing during his visit:

1. BUILDING DEDICATION: The renowned actor/director comes to town this week to help dedicate the $1.4 million building that bears his name.

2. INTERACTING WITH STUDENTS: While in Dayton, Hanks also will engage in dialogue and answer questions for film, theater and dance students.

3. WORKING ON WRIGHT BROTHERS PROJECT: Hanks and author David McCullough will be working on their upcoming HBO miniseries based on McCullough’s book, “The Wright Brothers” and McCullough also will be conducting a master class at Wright State.

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4. PRIVATE FUND-RAISER: Hanks also will attend a private fund-raising gala that aims to raise $500,000 for the Tom Hanks Scholarship and Visiting Artist Program.

As the national co-chair of the university’s $150 million “Rise. Shine. Campaign” — designed to expand scholarships, attract more top-flight faculty and support construction of state-of-the-art facilities — the actor was featured in a 2011 promotional video for the school.

“Wright State not only has one of the most outstanding arts programs in Ohio, but one of the best in the entire nation. I know this first hand because I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of your finest alumni," Hanks proclaims in the video.

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