Brian DeVoto described as leader, man of few words
THE SANTA CLARA
October 16, 2014
Santa Clara 2013 graduate Brian DeVoto died in a car accident in September at the age of 23.
Though DeVoto was a true New Yorker at heart, he thrived on the west coast in Santa Clara. He was starting his post-college graduate career as a clinical research recruiter at Real Staffing in San Francisco and had been promoted the day he died.
While at Santa Clara, DeVoto was the California Phi fraternity president. He also worked in the Center for Nanostructures Nanoelectronics Laboratory on campus and graduated with a biochemistry degree.
He was a “quiet leader whose integrity was matched by very few” in the Santa Clara community, according to Coby Newton, former Cal Phi member. The Cal Phi fraternity admired DeVoto for the amount of diligent work he put into his studies, the care he consistently felt for his brothers and friends and his constant willingness to help others.
“He was not only always there for you to talk, but he was a man of action,” said senior Adam Schellenberg, a member of Cal Phi. “He wasn’t just there on a surface level. Anything you needed from him, he was always more than willing to help.”
The Cal Phi fraternity named their new house on Bellomy Street Mt. Kisco, after DeVoto’s hometown in upstate New York, which had a special place in DeVoto’s heart.
Friends described DeVoto as a shy person who didn’t speak very much.
“It took people a long time to really get through his layers,” said Marshall Darr, a former Cal Phi president and Santa Clara alumnus of 2012. “I’m not sure how many people even did out here. Pretty much everybody who met him liked him. He was just real selective where he spent time.”
However, DeVoto built a strong, long-lasting connection with his girlfriend, Rose Soliemannjad. The two first met their freshman year and started dating in their sophomore year.
Soliemannjad said she felt complete when she was with him.
“He just loved being with me,” she said. “It didn’t matter what we were doing. He was my other half.”
DeVoto and Soliemannjad both were “huge nerds,” according to Soliemannjad. They had a passion for science and spent long hours studying in the library together.
In their senior year, DeVoto and Soliemannjad adopted a rescue husky, who they named Jeter after Derek Jeter, former professional shortstop for the New York Yankees.
Schellenberg said he remembers DeVoto walking Jeter around campus with a huge smile on his face, wearing his air Jordan sandals and basketball shorts.
An avid sports fan, DeVoto religiously followed the New York Yankees, New York Jets and the St. John’s University basketball team.
“Some of Brian and mine’s best times were, for me, with a six pack of Corona, watching and talking baseball,” Newton said.
DeVoto was also a video game fanatic. He could beat almost anybody in MBA 2K, a basketball video game.
“It took me about 100 games before I beat him in one game,” Schellenberg said.
DeVoto was buried in his hometown, Mt. Kisco, on Sept. 20. A memorial in his honor was held on Oct. 5 at Mission Santa Clara. DeVoto’s family and friends remembered him Oct. 9, which would have been DeVoto’s 24th birthday. DeVoto is survived by his father, John; his mother, Denise; and his brother, Tom.
Contact Mallory Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.