Devin Gaines Named Menlo College 2016 Board of Trustees Award Recipient

Devin Gaines Named Menlo College 2016 Board of Trustees Award Recipient

“There are only two things you can’t do: that’s walk on water and fly. Everything else is possible.”

Devin Gaines’ grandfather used to repeat that phrase every day after Devin moved from Pittsburgh to live with him and attend high school in southern California. Devin left his neighborhood of Beltzhoover in Pittsburgh to escape the violence of an area entangled in street gang rivalry.

At the annual Menlo College Honors Convocation ceremony, Devin was awarded the 2016 Board of Trustees Award. This is the highest honor that a student can receive at the College. The award is earned by the demonstration of outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service.

His former professor and fellow Pittsburgher Jack Klingler wrote, “I enjoyed watching Devin become a leader and role model on campus and in the classroom. Devin has a calming, yet confident presence about himself that makes you want to pay attention to what he says. He embodies all of the characteristics that Menlo looks for in recipients of the Board of Trustees Award. I am very proud of him.”

During his four years at Menlo College, Devin majored in accounting and became a resident assistant. He won the Resident Assistant of the Year award in 2015, and made the Dean’s list almost every semester.

Devin also masterminded the recent appearance of stand-up comedian Billy Sorrells at the comedy night organized by the Black Student Union. “Bringing everyone together for comedy and hearing the laughter was one of my most memorable moments at Menlo,” he recalled.

His summer internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four accounting firms, led to a full-time position that Devin will start after he completes his preparation for a CPA license.

Devin said “If there is one thing I’ve learned at Menlo, it’s that there is a lot I don’t know. I realized that there is a part of my own past as an African-American that I have never learned, and I long to know more. Through my networking connections in Silicon Valley, I connected with a professor at the University of San Francisco where I audited Afro-American history classes. This unique experience has given me an opportunity to meet leaders of the Afro-American community, such as American political activist, academic scholar, and author Dr. Angela Davis and the legendary black revolutionary Watani Stiner.”

Devin added that “Our generation is entrepreneurial, but they’re also social. My long-range hope for the future is to work as a social entrepreneur to improve areas such as the neighborhood I had to leave in my youth.”

In addition to receiving his CPA license and working at PwC, Devin hopes to earn his M.B.A., go into the tech industry, start his own business, and become a social entrepreneur. Perhaps walking on water and flying aren’t that far off!