Commencement 2021 to Welcome Nick Gilson ’07 as Speaker

Moses Brown School is pleased to announce a return to in-person Commencement with Nick Gilson ’07 as our 2021 Commencement speaker.

Nick is the perfect choice to discuss challenges, adjusting to change, and the benefits to be found outdoors. After attending MB for 15 years (nursery-grade 12), Nick attended Johns Hopkins, then taught middle school science in Nashville with Teach For America. A need to reach a wide range of education levels in his classroom led Nick to favor hands-on learning. While discussing invention, Nick retrieved his own design as an eighth grader at MB for a catamaran-inspired snowboard to model the scientific process. It was when he dusted off his own youthful idea that he began his path to business ownership.

Nick says his years at MB played a role in how he viewed experimentation and even failure. “I did my fair share of failing at MB,” Nick recalls, “and felt supported by my teachers as I picked myself up each time. It’s important to go through failure and perseverance in a safe environment and MB provided that. Having those experiences early in my education were hugely important in building my confidence. I still fail frequently, but I am confident in my ability to learn and grow each time. MB laid the foundation for that mindset.”

Today, Nick is the co-founder and CEO of Gilson Snow, a globally-known manufacturer of skis and snowboards, turning out thousands of innovative, fluid dynamics-inspired snowboards and skis a year. Since its founding by Nick and Austin Royer in 2013, the company has gone on to receive numerous awards and accolades, including Wired‘s ‘Gear of the Year’ list and being named one of Outside magazine’s favorite brands born in America. Bloomberg Businessweek has profiled the company, and Nick received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from the Small Business Administration. The company has been featured on NPR’s How I Built This and its Gilson Fly powder model was recently named the #1 powder snowboard in the world by Jackson Hole’s Mountain Weekly News. Gilson Snow currently has partnerships in place with the NHL, MLB, Hasbro, Superdry, AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Woodstock, to name a few.

You can see Nick’s TED Talk on “Failing to Learn” ( or this video about his company:

Upper school graduation takes place on Thursday, June 10.