One’s a best-selling author and stars in her own television show, the other prosecutes white collar criminals and corrupt politicians from his office in Lower Manhattan. Mindy Kaling and Preet Bharara both addressed Harvard Law School graduates during the school’s Class Day ceremony yesterday. The two were selected by four graduates representing their class.
“Mr. Bharara fights finance criminals and terrorism, I meet handsome men in cute and unusual ways on television,” Kaling said. “Is one more important than the other, who can say?” Kaling is a self-described “quadruple threat” who received a string of Emmy nominations for her work on The Office, while Bharara’s office has won convictions in 80 insider-trading cases with no acquittals.
The two are both Ivy League educated (Kaling graduated from Dartmouth, Bharara went to Harvard and Columbia Law School) and Bharara is a film buff who cannot resist dropping pop culture references into speeches and interviews. At the press conference announcing the arrest of hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajarartnam, he told reporters “Greed, sometimes, is not good,” and when asked at a conference last year when he plans to retire, he quoted Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character Jules, saying, “I’m going to walk the earth.”
“Clearly, Harvard wanted to show the full range of what India can produce,” Kaling said, referring to herself and the Punjab-native Bharara.
In his speech, Bharara told the graduates, referencing a line from The Departed, “being the guy who does his job, even when no one is looking and no one will know the good ideas came from you” is “where your focus should be always.”
He also couldn’t resist noting the cases he’s most famous for, “I hope that you have gotten to know your colleagues at the Business School. Because they are your future clients.”
This piece has been upgraded with quotes from Bharara’s full speech.