Name: D. Knute Gailor
Hometown: North Granby, Conn.
High School: Granby Memorial High School
Minor: World Politics
Campus activities: Student Assembly President, Men’s Varsity Golf, Campus Activities Board Co-Chair, Staff Writer for The Continental
Last Movie Seen in Theaters: The King’s Speech
Movie: Caddy Shack
Place You’ve Lived on Campus: Saunders House
Last Book Read: Midnight’s Children, Salaman Rushdie
Book: To Kill A Mockingbird
Hobbies/Interests: Woodworking, reading, running, playing basketball, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame
Place on Campus: The Little Pub
Campus Dining Location: Diner
Quote: “Life expands or contracts in proportion to one’s courage” Anais Nin
Where did you grow up and what was life like there?
Shortly after my high school graduation, I moved to Foxboro, Mass., and went to work full-time as a carpenter for Robert Lawrence Builders, a small, residential firm in the Boston area that builds and renovates beautiful homes. I’ve loved carpentry since I was little, and I was thrilled when Hamilton offered me the chance to defer my admission so I could experience something different. For eight months, I worked alongside 23 other members of the crew on the firm’s ongoing projects. While I spent more time than I’d like to admit sweeping floors and carrying plywood, I got to watch incredible buildings take shape and see just how much careful planning, hard work and sweat equity goes into building a house.
Being a member of the crew was an interesting and, I think, life-changing experience. My boss, Rob, was a fantastic role model — he is one of the most generous, talented and hard-working people I’ve ever met. He showed me how important it is to be optimistic when things are getting tough and pushed me to work my hardest. The guys on the crew helped me develop my carpentry skills, and I learned a lot about dealing with people from working with them, too. I also have a much better idea of what I’m looking for (and hoping to avoid) in a career and a better understanding of just how important it is to remember straws for iced coffees when you make the daily run to Dunkin Donuts.
Although living on my own and working full-time was not always easy, I have a much better appreciation for Hamilton and all it has to offer after taking a year off. When it’s five below and the walk to Commons for dinner seems unbearable, I can always dig deep and find motivation to put on a scarf after remembering that I once had to cook and do dishes instead.
Describe your family.
I am lucky to have an amazing family. My mom Bet, my dad Mike, my older sister Lauren and my younger brother Gipper are (no offense to the great professors who put up with me on a daily basis) the best teachers I’ve ever had. My parents are both lawyers – my mom is a legal services attorney who represents children with disabilities, and my dad is a prosecutor for the state of Connecticut. My sister is a middle school geography teacher, and my brother arrived for his first semester on campus this January when he returned from Hamilton’s program in London. Although everyone in my family has unique interests and qualities, they are all very giving people who support me in everything I do.
What were your first impressions of the College? Do you find they’re still true today?
I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I summited the Hill for the first time on Accepted Students Day in April of 2008. While the weather was beautiful, I’d heard stories about Clinton’s seemingly endless winter. Although I knew a few people who attended Hamilton, I’d never got a chance to visit campus (or any other campus, for that matter) during the application process.
Before I even got out of the car, though, I remember thinking that I could see myself at Hamilton. Somehow, I found myself identifying with the students lining College Hill Road and screaming “Hogwarts this way!” and “Aaron Burr sucks!” The people I met during the rest of the day showed me what I know for certain to be true, now: Hamilton is an incredibly friendly, hardworking and interesting community where no one takes him or herself too seriously.
What are your plans after Hamilton? Where do you want to live?
My post graduation plans change as often as snow is predicted for Oneida County in February. Some days I see myself living in Washington, D.C., working for a few years, pursuing a law degree and entering the U.S. Foreign Service. Others I see myself traveling to the Middle East, continuing to study Arabic and getting to know another culture. Still other days I think I want to move to the Maine coast, go into business building and renovating houses, and spend a lot of time messing around with a Kubota. At the moment, though, I’m leaning pretty heavily toward the first option — I’ve found that the law fascinates me, and I’m looking forward to working an internship at the Department of Justice while in Hamilton’s Washington, D.C., program this coming spring.
What advice or perspective would you share with alumni?
While I can’t offer any advice, I’ve gotten tremendous opportunities to meet and work with great people as a student and member of different campus organizations. What amazes me about Hamilton students (and leaves me wondering who messed up and let me in here) is peoples’ incredible ability to balance their classwork, co-curricular commitments and social lives. Also, every single person I’ve gotten to meet who works for the College — whether an administrator, professor or physical plant employee — shares an incredible dedication and passion for Hamilton and its students. I can say, too, that everyone on campus truly appreciates the incredible generosity of Hamilton’s alumni and friends.