Maya Angelou
Tom Brokaw
Ray Charles
Deepak Chopra
Pres. Bill Clinton
Kenneth Cole
Walter Cronkite
Richard Dreyfuss
Clint Eastwood
Marian Wright Edelman
Gloria Estefan
Antwone Fisher
John Glenn
Darrell Green
Gwen Ifill
James Earl Jones
Quincy Jones
Larry King
Sen. John McCain
Edward James Olmos
Colin Powell
Hal Prince
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Victoria Rowell
Bill Russell
Tim Russert
Martin E. Segal
Martin Sheen
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Mike Wallace
Brian Williams
Oprah Winfrey

Visit MENTOR's website
to find mentoring
opportunities in your


Brian Williams

Brian Williams
Interview Listen to audio, or watch the video of Brian Williams.


Who Mentored Brian Williams?

Brian Williams is anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News.

I signed up for an English literature course taught by a teacher named Bob Kitzin, and he turned me around. And I think in me he recognized a case where we had a young man who could go either way. And if you had told me a year prior, when I was working out with the football team and going out late at night to any number of dives along the Jersey shore, that this guy would have me reading philosophy—Emmanuel Kant and Machiavelli—and reading great pieces of work, I wouldn't have believed you.

He employed the technique used by all of our great teachers. He used the germ of an idea. The excitement of learning. Personal betterment, in the right vehicle. He saw someone I guess with willingness - at that point he couldn't have seen too much talent or intellect, I assure you - but he taught it in such a way, with such enthusiasm, excitement. And, of course, he took the time to care enough to take me on as a project.

He laid down that foundation in my life, and I think were it not for him, I wouldn't have become a serious thinker in life.

* * *

I'm surprised in our society, which is so much about instant gratification, that more people haven't discovered that mentoring is where to find that. Because when you look at the excitement in a young person's eyes about a thought just imparted or a passion just passed on, when you're brimming with enthusiasm for a topic, and you get a young convert, you know, game over. Victory. Lesson learned.

Back to top


Click book
images for more

Stand by Me:
The Risks and Rewards of Mentoring Today's Youth

By Jean E. Rhodes


The Person Who
Changed My Life:
Prominent People
Recall Their

By Matilda Raffa
Cuomo, Editor
with foreward by
Sen. Hillary


Because You
Believed in Me:
Mentors and
Protégés Who
Shaped Our World

By Marcia
McMullen and
Patricia Miller


About Us
© 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College