Devin Gaines earned 5 bachelor degrees with honors simultaneously

Devin Gaines earned 5 bachelor degrees with honors simultaneously

Did you know that Devin Gaines earned 5 bachelor degrees with honors simultaneously at the University of Connecticut, averaging 24 credits/semester and 3 hrs of sleep/night. He drowned in 2007 because he didnt know how to swim.


was a college student at the University of Connecticut who attracted international media attention by earning five Bachelor’s degrees simultaneously on May 6, 2007, a historic achievement for an African-American.

Life at The University of Connecticut

Between September 2002 and May 2007, Gaines attended University of Connecticut. A Bachelor’s degree requires a single major and 120 credits. Gaines had five majors and five minors over a five-year span and completed 276 credits and nearly 100 courses, more than double the university requirement. He graduated on May 6, 2007, earning five Bachelor’s degrees with an overall 3.2 grade point average. His average course load was 21–24 credits a semester, though in only one semester he went as high as 38 credits. During his college years, Gaines averaged only three hours of sleep a night. “I don’t get as much sleep as the normal person,” Gaines explained in an interview after graduation. He was a member of Psi Chi and Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Societies, and had been accepted for a master’s degree in Educational Communication and Technology at New York University. He had planned to study for a PhD or EdD in Education after earning his Master’s. During his college years, Gaines also studied social anthropology and linguistics in New Zealand, and fiber-optic costume designing in Israel. In addition to academic accomplishments, a healthy Gaines lost over 300 pounds during his college years, and was honored and recognized by 100 Black Men of Stamford. An eccentric who once dyed his hair pink, Gaines was known as both a bookworm and a social animal among his friends. He lived with his mother in Stamford. Gaines was working after graduation as an information technology associate for Pension Associates, a tax consulting firm.

Academic majors and minors

Three degrees were awarded by The College of Liberal Arts, one in fine arts, and one in engineering by The University of Connecticut:

  • Cinema, Culture and Cognition B.A.(Individualistic major)
  • Cognitive Studies B.A.
  • Computer Science B.S.
  • Linguistic Psychology B.A.
  • Theater Studies B.A.
  • Business (minor)
  • Communications (minor)
  • Film Studies (minor)
  • Mathematics (minor)
  • Production Design (minor)

Death and memorial

On July 10, 2007, Gaines accidentally drowned in Deep River, Connecticut, in Blakeslee Pond, a gravel pit quarry on private property, while swimming with friends. The property had concrete barriers around it and ‘no trespassing’ signs posted (due to an ongoing problem). Gaines’ mother said he did not know how to swim. The Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program (in which Gaines participated in after-school programs in high school before attending University of Connecticut) has established a scholarship program in Gaines’s memory for needy students at Stamford High School that show potential at the University of Bridgeport. The University of Connecticut has named its new Student Involvement and Activities Center on the Stamford Campus after Devin.