Every successful person has had a mentor.

Even those who seem to be strong leaders on their own have been impacted by a trusted advisor who guided them along the way.

Abraham Lincoln, who we tend to think of stoic, strong and independent, was influenced by his mentor, William Mentor Graham. Graham ran the schoolhouse in New Salem, Illinois and helped Lincoln develop his math, language, and debating skills. It was during these years that Abraham Lincoln first ran for public office. This period of Lincoln's personal development was undoubtedly shaped in part by Graham's mentor (Greer, n.d.).

A mentor is a trusted guide who advises and supports the development of another person.

Mentoring young people is important because it positively and directly improves the mentees' life, which in turn benefits others around them. Researchers have found that children with a mentor are more confident academically, and less likely to have behavioral problems (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2013).

Other famous mentor pairings include:

  • Steve Jobs is said to have mentored Mark Zuckerberg. After Jobs passed away in 2011, Zuckerberg posted "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."

  • Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President) mentored James Monroe (5th U.S. President) Monroe frequently sought advice from Jefferson regarding foreign policy.

  • Dean Smith (NBA Coach) mentored Michael Jordan (NBA Superstar). Jordan said Coach Smith was the most influential person in his life other than his parents.

For more famous mentor pairings, visit the Peer Resources Mentor Hall of Fame website.

Who has mentored you on your journey of life? Who will you mentor?


Carr, R. (2019, November). Peer resources' Mentor Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 7, 2020, from https://www.mentors.ca/mentorpairs.html

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2013, January 15). Youth mentoring linked to many positive effects, new study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 6, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130115143850.htm

Greer, W. Lincoln's mentor, ExploreKYHistory, accessed February 7, 2020, https://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/135.

McPherson, J.  (2000, February). Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865), sixteenth president of the United States. American National Biography. Retrieved 7 Feb. 2020, from https://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-0400631

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