Q&A with Daniel Pai ’19: Youngest Member of the Board of Governors

Pai+leads+the+2018+Crop+Walk+as+part+of+St.+Luke%27s+Society.

Daniel Pai '19

Pai leads the 2018 Crop Walk as part of St. Luke’s Society.

From serving as the 2018-2019 School co-President to his recent nomination to the Board of Governors (BOG), Daniel Pai ’19 has served the school community in many ways. Currently a sophomore at Yale University, Pai serves as a class agent and on the Board of Governors’ Nominating Committee for Awards, Communications Committee, and Admissions & Engagement Committee.

How did you get introduced to the idea of being on the Board of Governors?

In my Lower Mid year, I founded Alumni-Student Relations and really got to know the Board of Governors. I wanted to continue serving Hotchkiss after I graduated, and I was nominated and elected to the Board of Governors last summer.

What influenced you to become a Board member?

I remember meeting Alexandra Chen ’06, who won the 2017 Community Service Award, and former Trustee Phillip Pillsbury ’53, P’89, ’98, both of whom had a very Christian commitment to service. I felt a moral obligation to be a servant-leader. That was a common theme throughout my life as student president and part of St. Luke’s Society. I feel like all of that worked together with my faith background, which furthered my desire to serve on the Board of Governors.

What is it like to be the youngest Board member?

I’m on the Nominating Committee for Awards with Vice Chair and Chair of Nominating Committee for Awards, Paul Mutter ’87, and he always says, “I have so many I’m not worthy moments.” We’re going over nominations and we’re like, “Wow! This alumnus won a Pulitzer Prize. This alumnus is one of the best architects in the country.” That’s what I feel a lot, and not in a bad sense, but because there are so many accomplished alumni. It’s humbling that these accomplished alumni are willing to work with me. I’m also very thankful that I can be there for my fellow young alumni in getting their voices heard.

What work do you do on the Board?

I work on the Nominating Committee for Awards. We meet a few times for each award, and we go through all the nominations and do research on nominees. We then have a good conversation about who we truly want to be selected for each award. 

How has your work changed due to COVID-19?

It’s been hard, because one of the best things about being on the BOG is that you get to go back to campus and engage with the student community, teachers, other alumni, and Head of School. That’s the best part, because you are reconnecting with the school and getting to learn what students are doing. That also informs our perspective on the school, in being representatives of the alumni. However, we get updates from Mr. [Craig] Bradley on Zoom calls, so we’re still well-informed in terms of how student life is going. Zoom has opened a lot of opportunities, because alumni can log on to Zoom from anywhere.  It increases the number of alumni who can reconnect with the school in terms of events.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the Board?

As the youngest member of the BOG, I really hope that I can bolster young alumni engagement. I feel a sense of responsibility to keep my peers and friends engaged with the school. I want to be the voice of young alumni by planning more events with them and being an outlet for them to speak to.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.