Devin Gaines loves learning.
And he has five degrees to prove it.
On May 6, Gaines accepted three diplomas during Commencement exercises in Gampel Pavilion, one for each of the three degrees he earned from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and one that morning in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts during ceremonies for the School of Fine Arts.
The fine arts event unfortunately kept him from attending the ceremony where he would have accepted the degree he earned from the School of Engineering.
Gaines not only earned five undergraduate degrees, he earned five minors as well. In only five years.
“One thing just led to another,” says the Stamford native who, as far as anyone can remember, is the first person to earn five degrees in one sitting from UConn.
“I loved being here. I loved studying, learning different things.”
Since Gaines, 22, entered UConn in 2002, he has earned 276 credits, enough to qualify for degrees in computer science, cognitive science, theater studies, linguistics/psychology, and an individualized major in cinema, culture, and cognition.
His record for one semester is 38 credits.
Overall – in about 90 different courses – he has a 3.2 GPA.
Gaines, who will work for Pension Associates in Stamford this summer, has been accepted to a master’s program in educational communications technology at New York University.
“I might go for an MBA, too,” he says, and he’s probably not joking.
Gaines originally came to UConn to study computer engineering, but found it somewhat constricting.
| Devin Gaines had five majors and five minors while an undergraduate student. He plans to earn a master’s degree in educational communications technology at New York University next year.
|Photo by Peter Morenus
“I like being creative, too,” he says.
So shortly after arriving in Storrs he wandered into the School of Fine Arts, and bumped into a conversation about costume design.
A student was creating a design on a computer, and Gaines began chatting with her.
Soon, he decided to major in theater, too.
The story follows a similar script for his other majors – curiosity about the human element in computers led to a major in linguistics and cognitive psychology; a psychology course on paranormal media and an interest in cinema led to the individualized major in cinema, culture, and cognition.
All that required extra effort, and extra courses: to earn a degree at UConn, students are required to take at least 30 distinct credits directly related to that major.
Those 30 credits cannot overlap to another major.
Gaines accomplished that, and he also sampled enough other courses to earn minors in math, communications, business, production design, and film studies.
He did not bring any AP or dual degree credits to UConn from high school. He earned some, but didn’t transfer them because he wanted to take the courses here.
“I just loved school, and the faculty have been tremendously wonderful and helpful with everything,” he says.
“I like to keep busy.”