Most beautiful runner: Phil Claudy '18

by Marie-Capucine Pineau-Valencienne | 11/9/16 1:42am

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by Tiffany Zhai / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Looking at Phil Claudy ’18 as he strolls across Baker lobby makes it easy to see why someone would nominate him. He’s tall, he’s buff and he’s got really good hair — but it quickly became clear that his boy next door good looks were not the reason he was nominated.

Then what exactly was it about this self described “standard Dartmouth kid” — i.e. sporty Econ major — that warranted someone to anonymously nominate him for Dartmouth’s most beautiful person? It wasn’t the way his shirt hugged his biceps, or the way his hair was a perfect balance of neat and carelessly messy: Claudy is also an activist. With his passion for the LGBT community and his drive to make a positive impact, it’s no wonder why former Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris ’84 decided to stop while she was ahead and leave her job after hitting the jackpot the year she admitted him. His experiential learning gives even College President Phil Hanlon a run for his money. After just a couple of minutes talking to him, it was evident that not only did he care about issues surrounding the LGBT community on campus and off, he wanted to take action.

Claudy ran an Iron Man triathlon as a way to raise awareness and funds for victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. He also recently ran a marathon for the Trevor Project, an organization that serves as a suicide hotline for LGBT youth and provides mental health awareness resources for parents and individuals.

When he’s not running what can be described (by NARP standards) as a vomit-inducing amount of miles or trudging through mud and swimming across a lake while it rains fire and brimstone, he’s on campus serving as a freshman undergraduate advisor.

“It’s reset my perspective,” he said, adding that “you get jaded the longer you’re here.” It energizes him because he gets to experience the excitement of freshmen.

The passion and drive that characterize him today are a result of the struggles he faced in his first year at Dartmouth.

“I didn’t really have a space where I felt safe and content with myself,” Claudy said. “I felt accepted here but I had yet to accept myself, and that’s the first step in coming to terms with your sexuality.”

Claudy explained that when he entered college, he quickly felt overwhelmed, partly due to the fact that he already came from a background in which Dartmouth was unfamiliar territory and inaccessible to many in his community.

The stress of adjusting to Dartmouth was coupled with the inner turmoil that came with accepting his sexuality. All these factors resulted in what he described as “the perfect storm” and caused him to develop depression. He explained that he turned to running to cope with his depression and “come to terms with” his sexuality, which led him to use his physical health as a “vehicle” for his mental health.

Claudy noted that for him, beauty is inextricably linked to passion.

“It’s not enough to just be pretty, if you don’t have something you’re passionate about, if you’re not striving to be the best version of yourself, I don’t think you come across as beautiful — at least to me.”