From Diverse Online
Current News
Best and Brightest’ Scholar’s Promising Future Ends Tragically
By Margaret Kamara
Jul 12, 2007, 01:24

Devin Gaines, who became one of the University of Connecticut’s most noteworthy 2007 alumni when he graduated with five degrees in five years, died early Tuesday morning.

Gaines was featured in a Diverse series on the “Best & Brightest” minority college students shortly after earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science, theater studies, cognitive science and linguistic psychology. His fifth degree was in an individualized major: cinema, culture and cognition.

The Harford Courant
reported that Gaines had gone for a swim with friends to Blakeslee Pond in Deep River, Conn., and drowned in the abandoned pit that forms the pond. The pond, which is 100 ft. deep in some places, has been closed following a swimming accident in the mid-1990s. Security frequently patrols the pond to prevent people from swimming there.

Though toxicology results are still pending, medical examiners classified the death as an accidental drowning.

“My brother is not a swimmer, he was not athletic, he was a book worm,” Gaines’ sister, Netosha Sumter, told the Courant.

Gaines, who graduated in May with a 3.2 GPA, had been working as an information technology associate for Pension Associates, a tax consulting firm.

A message posted on the firm’s Web site reads: “Our prayers go out to the family and friends of Devin Gaines, a recent Uconn grad and our employee for the last one and a half months. He will be sorely missed.”

Gaines’ extraordinary academic journey began 12 years ago, when his father introduced him to the world of computers.

“My father brought home a broken computer, and I was able to put it together. When he saw that I did that, he decided to take me to a community center. [There,] I met up with a woman who became my inspiration in life,” 22-year-old Gaines said in a May interview with Diverse.

The woman was Kathryn Murdock, the executive director of the Yerwood Center, located a few blocks from Gaines’ home.

For more information on Gaines’ life, see, where his friends and family members have posted messages about the scholar.

– Margaret Kamara