Moving Forward With the Next Phase

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33° 

As I write this article, I am having my first day of retirement. I recently retired from the University of Illinois with a combined 35 years of service, with my last role being that of Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the University.

Most of my career was spent in various administrative roles in areas such as finance, budgets, human resources, facilities management and finally working with the University Board Chair and University President on all the affairs of the board of trustees.

As I reflect back, I couldn’t have achieved all that I was able to without the support of so many people. I have to begin by thanking my parents, Jack, and Barbara Knott, they sacrificed time and again to ensure that I was able to get through college, help me with buying cars, moving countless times, etc. They always supported me without question.

My wife Brooke, has been an endless rock of support. Being in administration in higher education isn’t always easy with the endless amount of personalities and issues that confront colleges today. Brooke has always been there for me, offering me support and a willing ear when needed. Nothing I have accomplished would have been possible without her.

Riley, my daughter, and Hayden, my son, also consistently encouraged me along the way. Like most parents, I wanted the best for them and always sought ways to help them succeed. They were also part of the support, I needed to stay so successful. They also helped provide me with the motivation to ensure they had everything they needed to succeed in life as well.

Recently, as Secretary of the University, I was able to sign my daughter's second college diploma from the University of Illinois. This actually makes three diplomas in total that I have signed for her, as she was a student at Parkland College when I was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Not sure how many dads get to do this, but none the least to say I am very humbled in getting to have done so.

In the workplace, I have had so many great mentors who encouraged me along the way in my journey. For fear of leaving some of them out, I won’t list them by name, but want to just say thank you! One of my first mentors, when I was a student worker, consistently challenged me, always giving me more than I thought I was capable of, but encouraging and coaching me and letting me see that I had skills that I didn’t know were possible. Even though it is more than 30 years later since that job, we still keep in touch and he has been a consistent cheerleader throughout my career.

I don’t know if it was fate or not, but it just seemed I was able to find one mentor after another in my career that made a positive impact on me. To each of them, I am so grateful for everything they did for me.

As I move into this next phase called retirement, I don’t entirely know what is ahead yet. But that is the part I am looking forward to, the new challenges and adventures that may come my way. Initially, I am going to take some much-needed time away from a 40-hour structured work week. I will be doing some substitute teaching in my local high school, and I am looking forward to being around the young people of today. I have often thought of the 24-inch gauge and how it applies to our daily life. I will be adjusting mine and looking forward to the future.

As we learn through the masonic degrees, life is a journey, where we gain more working tools and knowledge along the way. We are “traveling upon the level of time to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.”.

I wish you well on your journey.


Gregory J. Knott, 33° is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D., and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

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