The History of Mentorship Part 1

April 10, 2014

Do you know the history behind the word "mentor"? Despite mentoring being a somewhat recent phenomenon, its origins are surprisingly ancient. 

According to Greek Mythology there once existed a man named Mentor, who was friends with the famous Odysseus. When Odysseus went to war against Troy, he trusted his house under the care of Mentor. Mentor ended up becoming a guide to Odysseus’s son Telemachus, giving him advice and.  As a result, in modern times we still refer to trusted advisers as “mentors.”

History not only tells us the origin of the word mentor, but also provides countless examples and models of successful mentorship.  To name a few…

Oprah Winfrey mentored by Mrs. Duncan (4th grade teacher)

Colin Powel mentored by his father Luther Powell

Dr. Martin Luther King mentored by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Henry David Thoreau mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson

John McCain mentored by William Ravenel (high school teacher/coach)

Hillary Clinton mentored by Rev. Donald James

Helen Keller mentored by Anne Sullivan

Rosa Parks mentored by Alice L. White (headmistress)

Larry King mentored by Edward Bennett Williams

From ancient times to now, mentoring has influenced the lives of many in a variety of different walks of life. Check back next week to read more about the history of mentoring in the second part of our post!