MAGNIFYING, No. 16: Devon Barnes

January 09 2019

For this episode of MAGNIFYING we spoke with Development Director Devon Barnes. Our creative community here at the College of Fine Arts is diverse and wide spread. With the goal of gaining a deeper knowledge and awareness of the people within our community, we bring you MAGNIFYING, a series dedicated to showcasing the talent of our students, faculty, and staff.

Tell us about yourself: Name, where you are from, what you do and how you got into in your field of work
My name is Devon Barnes. I am originally from a suburb outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I came to attend the University of Utah as a freshman in the fall of 2005. It was that fall that my new college friends decided to get a part-time job working for the University of Utah Phonathon; making outbound phone calls and fundraising on behalf of the University. I decided to join my friends and also get a part-time job as a student caller. It was with the Phonathon that I learned of the importance of fundraising and connecting alumni back to the University while sharing the impact of a gift, of any size, to the U. As many fundraisers, I feel as though I accidently fell into fundraising. A part-time job truly changed my life and I knew I wanted to continue this line of work by making a difference one donation at a time.

What has surprised you the most in your life?
I am most surprised by how much I fell in love with Utah and the University of Utah. Although I was excited to come to the University, I never imagined staying long-term. When I came to the U, I considered myself a “Philly Girl”. I always thought I would return back east. I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and the majority of my family still resdies in the area, now. However, to my surprise, after experiencing the usual home-sickness and getting past that, I fell in love with the U, Salt Lake City, and everything Utah had to offer- from the Mountains to being able to camp under the stars in Southern Utah. Additionally, a few years into attending college, I met my now husband. The University of Utah and Salt Lake City is very dear to my heart and quickly became my home.

What do you wish you had known/been told?
Before classes officially began for me, my parents accompanied me to Salt Lake City where I toured campus and attended orientation. When it was time for my parents to return to Pennsylvania, I recall my father telling me that it was OK to play hard, but first I had to work hard. As an 18-year old, I simply acknowledged the comment and started my new freshman life in the dorms. After making mistakes and learning from those mistakes, I have come to truly appreciate the saying: work hard/ play hard. However, I wish, then, I truly understood what my father was saying. There have been times in my life that the work hard/ play hard motto hasn’t been so even. Over time, I have learned that those two need to be in balance with each other. To this day, I try to live by this motto and in return enjoy life to its fullest.