Mindy Kaling ’01 asks “Why Not You?”

Entertainment powerhouse says believing in yourself can take you to the top

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling ’01 is a major force in entertainment: creator of The Mindy Project (which ran through 2017), the sitcom Champions, the Netflix drama-com Never Have I Ever, and HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls. Numerous film roles include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, A Wrinkle in Time, Ocean’s 8, and Late Night, which she also wrote and produced. Her two memoirs (so far!) have landed on The New York Times’s Best Seller List. She is also co-writer for Legally Blonde 3, which is scheduled for a May 2022 release.

"Root for yourself. And root for those around you, too. Because success isn't a zero-sum game."

In 2018, Kaling returned to Hanover to deliver Dartmouth’s commencement address (after paying a surprise visit to her old dorm room) and offer a pep talk to the graduating class.

Mindy Kaling inside her old dorm room at Dartmouth College

“You have to have insane confidence in yourself, even if it’s not real,” she said. “You need to be your own cheerleader now. So, I’m giving you permission to root for yourself.

“I was sitting in the chair you are sitting in right now and I just whispered, ‘Why not me?’ Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, especially not yourself. Go conquer the world. Just remember this: Why not you? You made it this far.”

Read about Kaling’s Netflix series Never Have I Ever in Dartmouth Alumni Magazine.


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