An important Belmont Hill tradition is having a Veterans Day speaker address the boys, most often a graduate reflecting upon Belmont Hill and serving our country. The School has been fortunate to have so many great people to choose from in this regard, and this year’s speaker was no exception.
Ian Connor '10 was co-captain of the varsity crew team and won the New England Championship three times, as well as the US National Championship in his final year. After graduating he attended Brown University, where he studied economics and was a member of the crew team. In 2015 he enrolled in Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI, and upon graduation was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy. After successfully completing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training and SEAL Qualification Training, he received orders to SEAL Team 10 in Virginia Beach, VA, where he would spend the next 5 years. While assigned to SEAL Team 10, he served as a SEAL Squad Commander, Current Operations Officer, and Fire Support Officer, deploying to East and West Africa in support of Special Operations Command - Africa and Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2022, he separated from the US Navy and now resides in Chicago with his wife, Sofia.
Mr. Connor opened by telling the boys of his background as a member of the Class of 2010. “I say that proudly, with a deep sense of gratitude, proud of the school and its mission, to develop young men of character in mind, body, and spirit. I’m forever grateful for the exceptional faculty and staff that give so much of their lives to make this place all that it is.” He then went on to talk about his Belmont Hill journey and how the lessons of character learned here impacted him in becoming the man he is today.
He also paid tribute to the many Belmont Hill alumni who have served in the military, especially the 15 who gave their lives in service to the country. “Veterans Day is an opportunity to honor them, and it is a day to express our gratitude for all of those who have served through the course of our nation’s history.”
Mr. Connor closed with some sage words of wisdom for the boys to reflect upon. “It is your character, your integrity, your virtues alone, that will guide you through the fog,” he said. “And I can think of no finer place for you to hone these principles than right here at the School. It's hard for a reason. But you're one of the few for a reason. So I'll ask on this Veterans Day that you skip the moment of silence, the social media posts, or the fundraiser, and instead that you simply seize this opportunity. When the day comes that your character is truly tested, and it will be, stand tall, be bold, and never give an inch.”