National Institute on Aging

In Memoriam: Paul L. Gaines, 1932-2020

Paul L. Gaines Sr., a former administrator at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, died at this home in Newport, Rhode Island, on June 25 after a short illness. He was 88 years old.

A native of Newport, Gaines attended public schools before earning a bachelor’s degree in education at Xavier University of Louisiana in 1955. After serving in Europe for the U.S. Army, Gaines returned to the United States and taught in the Newport public school system.

In 1958, Gaines earned a master’s degree in counseling at what is now Bridgewater State University and that same year joined the staff at the educational institution as assistant to the president for minority affairs and affirmative action. While employed at Bridgewater State he served on the Newport School Committee. In 1977 he was the first African American elected to the Newport City council in the 20th century. Gaines retired from the university in 1996 after 28 years at the university.

Upon his retirement, the Afro-American Alumni Society at Bridgewater State University established the Paul L. Gaines Scholarship to benefit Rhode Island and Massachusetts minority students majoring in education or counseling.


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