Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Jr.


Maya Angelou




Growing up, were there people in your life who encouraged you, showed you the ropes, and helped you become the person you are today? Think about family members, a teacher or coach, a neighbor, a boss, or family friend; those people were mentors to you.

Most successful people say they had mentors along the way who guided and encouraged them. The Harvard Mentoring Project has been conducting videotaped interviews and collecting written essays in which prominent people from various fields talk about their mentors. Maya Angelou cites a grade school teacher who sparked her love of poetry; Quincy Jones points to the powerful influence of musician Ray Charles; and Sting credits a teacher whose energy inspired a lifelong passion for learning. Other participants include President Bill Clinton, Clint Eastwood, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tom Brokaw.

Watch or read the stories about mentors in their lives, or read a list of famous mentor-mentee pairs.

So, who mentored you? Think about individuals in your own life who offered you encouragement, shared their experiences and knowledge, and sometimes just listened when you needed to talk. Do they know what a lasting difference they made? Find out how you can thank them.

Who Mentored You? Thank Them, and Pass it On...Mentor a Child!

© 2014 President and Fellows of Harvard College