When Dr. Elizabeth King posted a video on Twitter, asking American actor and producer Brad Pitt to create a short encouragement video for Missouri State’s graduating class of 2020, she didn’t expect what was to come.
King, assistant professor of childhood education and family studies at MSU, posted the minute and a half long video to Twitter on Tuesday, May 12, asking Pitt to send a “message of support” to the graduates.
“As you know, graduation is clearly not what students anticipated, and there’s a lot of disappointment rolling around here in Springfield and I think you can help,” King says in the video.
King said she was in contact with a lot of the graduates from her department before graduation and understood they felt as if the end of the senior year, the culmination of their collegiate journey, was lackluster.
“I felt for them, and I just swallowed my pride and kept reminding myself — as I felt really silly creating the video — that I was doing it to at least show them how much I love and support them and hopefully get something big to happen to remind them that there’s good in the world,” King said.
After recording the video in her home office, King said she emailed it to a few people, along with posting it on Twitter.
King said she received news late last week that Pitt was interested in creating the video.
“I got lucky that he cared enough about this that he noticed,” King said.
Although the video has not been shared widely to all graduates, about 60 students have watched it.
Over graduation weekend, King celebrated, via Zoom, with the graduating child and family development study and childhood education and family studies students.
Hannah Sullens was one of the students present.
Sullens said the overall mood of her virtual celebration — which was with her fellow childhood education and family studies majors — was positive, however, there was a somber undertone. Towards the end of the celebration, King told the students she had a surprise for them.
King then played the video in the video call.
The mood of the call instantly changed, Sullens said.
“His message was so thoughtful,” Sullens said. “It wasn’t like something off of a card you’d buy at Walmart. He took time out of his day to say congrats and give us this really awesome message.”
Sullens said she believes the video is around 30 seconds, but she doesn’t remember the length specifically.
“For anyone to take the time to wish us good luck and to even get in touch with a professor anyway, we were all just super grateful and thankful,” Sullen said.
MSU 2020 graduates can expect to receive the video soon.
King said the manner of the video’s distribution is to be announced.