The young man regarded the professor not only as a mentor, but as a good friend as well.
“Every time a Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG) group from Point Park speaks to an after-school program full of elementary school girls, they introduce them to a positive female role model in society. Every time, they encourage going to college. Every time, both young girls and mentors end up laughing. And every time, the girls have a hard time saying goodbye.” — From an article by Marina Weiss in The Globe (Point Park University, Pennsylvania), December 4, 2012
We acquired “mentor” from the literature of ancient Greece. In Homer's epic The Odyssey, Odysseus was away from home fighting and journeying for 20 years. During that time, Telemachus, the son he left as a babe in arms, grew up under the supervision of Mentor, an old and trusted friend. When the goddess Athena decided it was time to complete the education of young Telemachus, she visited him disguised as Mentor and they set out together to learn about his father. Today, we use the word “mentor” for anyone who is a positive, guiding influence in another (usually younger) person's life.