Mindy Kaling is one of the most influential comedic voices of her generation. As an actress, writer, producer and director, she has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Though she is best known for playing the bubbly and hilarious Kelly Kapoor on “The Office,” Kaling’s talents extend far beyond acting. She is a creative powerhouse who has proven herself capable of generating innovative stories and characters that resonate with audiences. Though much of her work contains autobiographical elements, there is still much to learn about Kaling’s own origin story. An important part of that is understanding where this multi-talented performer got her start. So where exactly did Mindy Kaling go to college?
Quick Facts About Mindy Kaling’s Education and Early Life:
- Born Vera Mindy Chokalingam in 1979 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Parents were immigrants from India who met while working at the same hospital in Nigeria
- Attended Dartmouth College and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in playwriting
- Was involved with the campus improv comedy troupe “The Dog Day Players”
- Wrote her first play “Matt & Ben,” a comedy about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, while at Dartmouth
- Transitioned from college into a career in television by landing an internship at Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Who is Mindy Kaling?
Mindy Kaling is an award-winning American actress, comedian, writer and producer who has become one of the most prominent creative voices in Hollywood today. Born Vera Mindy Chokalingam in 1979 to Indian immigrant parents, Kaling had a relatively normal suburban upbringing in Massachusetts. From a young age she was drawn to comedy and performance, interests which eventually led her to pursue a degree in playwriting from the prestigious Dartmouth College.
Though she initially intended to become a comedy writer behind the scenes, Kaling’s charisma and wit made her a natural fit for on-camera work. After getting her big break as a writer and cast member on the hit show “The Office,” her profile began to rise. She displayed her impressive range by working as an actress, producer, director and writer on a variety of projects. With smash hits like “The Mindy Project” and “Never Have I Ever,” Kaling established herself as a trailblazing creative force able to bring humor, heart and cultural commentary to whatever she touches.
Where Did Mindy Kaling Go To College?
Mindy Kaling attended Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university located in Hanover, New Hampshire. She graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in playwriting.
Kaling applied to Dartmouth on a whim because her older brother Vijay was already a student there. Though initially concerned she might not fit in at the predominantly white institution, Kaling ended up finding a community and thriving during her time there.
At Dartmouth, Kaling studied theater and became involved with the university’s improvisational comedy group called The Dog Day Players. She also began writing her own original plays, including an acclaimed comedy called “Matt & Ben” that imagines Matt Damon and Ben Affleck coming up with the script for “Good Will Hunting.”
Kaling credited her experiences performing and playwriting at Dartmouth with helping spark her creative passions and talent for comedy. Though she headed to New York after graduation aspiring to become a comedy writer, her Dartmouth education gave her performance skills she soon put to use in front of the camera.
Kaling’s Breakout Success in Television
After graduating from Dartmouth, Kaling moved to Brooklyn, New York. She tried unsuccessfully to get comedy writing jobs before landing an internship on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 1999. This internship helped Kaling get her foot in the door and led to a job as a staff writer on the sitcom Spin City.
In 2004, Kaling’s career took off when she started working on the new comedy series The Office. She began as a writer and story editor before also being cast as Kelly Kapoor. Kaling wrote some of the show’s most iconic episodes and received several Emmy nominations for her writing.
The success of The Office enabled Kaling to create and star in her own show, The Mindy Project, which ran from 2012 to 2017. She played the central character, Mindy Lahiri, and served as executive producer, head writer and director. The pioneering sitcom cemented Kaling’s status as a powerhouse in Hollywood.
Other Notable Facts about Mindy Kaling’s Career:
- Published two bestselling books, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (2011) and Why Not Me? (2015)
- Appeared in numerous films including Inside Out, Ocean’s 8 and Late Night
- Launched the hit Netflix show Never Have I Ever in 2020 focusing on an Indian American teenager
- Founded her own production company, Kaling International
- Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018
- Known for breaking barriers for women of color in entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions About Mindy Kaling’s College Background:
What college did Mindy Kaling graduate from?
Mindy Kaling graduated from Dartmouth College in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in playwriting.
What activities was Mindy Kaling involved in during college?
At Dartmouth, Kaling was an active member of the improv comedy group The Dog Day Players. She also wrote several of her own original plays.
Did Mindy Kaling go straight into acting and writing after college?
No, after graduating Dartmouth, Kaling moved to New York City hoping to break into comedy writing. Her first big break came in 2004 when she started working as a writer and cast member on The Office.
What was Mindy Kaling’s major in college?
Kaling was a theater major at Dartmouth and specialized in playwriting. She wrote her own plays including the acclaimed comedy “Matt & Ben.”
How did Mindy Kaling’s time at Dartmouth prepare her for her career?
Dartmouth allowed Kaling to hone her talents for writing and comedy through performing with an improv group and creating her own plays. This built a strong foundation for her future career.