Actress Ellie Kemper is best-known for portraying adorably likeable characters in numerous comedic TV shows and films over the years. As an actress, Kemper got her big break when she landed the role of Erin Hannon on the American version of “The Office.” Next Kemper landed the lead role in the sitcom “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (2015–2019), which earned her two consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Originally, Kemper started performing at quite a young age. She attended John Boroughs School where she developed an interest in theater and comedy that led to her appearing in a play with actor John Hamm. After graduating from college, she spent a year at Oxford University pursuing graduate studies in English Literature. She also interned for a year at “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” appearing in sketches on the show. In addition to her skills as an actress, Kemper is also a talented writer, having previously contributed to both The Onion and McSweeney's. In 2018, she released her debut book, My Squirrel Days, a collection of personal essays.
Kemper got her first taste of improvisational comedy while she was a student at Princeton University. During her freshman year, she was a member of the field hockey team when they placed second in the NCAA Division One National Championship. After leaving the field hockey team, where she mostly "sat on the bench," Kemper turned her attention to performing on stages. By her sophomore year, she was honing her comedic skills with the Princeton improv group Quipfire! and the Princeton Triangle Club, a touring musical-comedy troupe. In 2002, she graduated from Princeton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Maintaining ties with her alma mater, in 2018 she delivered the closing keynote at the “She Roars” alumni conference in tribute to the history of women at Princeton. Then in 2019, the actress, comedienne, and author was ecstatic to find out that she'd been selected as that year’s Class Day speaker. Class Day, which takes place the day before Princeton’s Commencement, is organized by members of the senior class. Kemper's turn as keynote speaker that year coincided with another important moment in Princeton's history: the 50th anniversary of undergraduate coeducation at Princeton. With her high energy and humor, Kemper encouraged the Class of 2019 to embrace the obstacles in their lives and: "Nurture the friendships that you've made here because they will sustain you for a lifetime."