DeShay Gould McCluskey , AB '01

DeShay graduated from the College in June 2001 with a BA (Honors) in Economics. While at the College DeShay was involved in a myriad of activities including leadership roles with the Organization of Black Students (OBS), working at the UCSC, helping to plan the college-wide day of service, welcoming students during O-week and participating in Summer Links. DeShay also worked and managed the "second floor coffee shop" in the Reynolds Club, where she cemented some of her fondest memories while at the College.


After graduating the College, DeShay joined Ariel Investments where she began her now 14 year career in the investment management industry. DeShay worked at Ariel for three years before going off to Stanford to take up her MBA. Post Stanford, DeShay has worked for a couple of different investment firms including one that she co-founded. She is currently a Principal at GW Capital Management in Bellevue, Washington. DeShay is married with two wonderful boys, ages 4.5 and 1.5.   


Biographical Information:

·  Hometown: Chicago, IL

·  Education: Lincoln Park High School, The College & Stanford Graduate School of Business

·  Currently reside in Bellevue, Washington

Tell us your UChicago story, how did you end up at the College?

I was very lucky to end up at the College. Since childhood, I wanted to be a medical doctor. I admired Johns Hopkins and I wanted to attend that university. Additionally, I received substantial academic scholarships to attend two other Universities.  My college guidance counselor among others, thought it best that I follow the largest pot of gold. Much to my surprise, a single visit to the College changed everything. Whereas I was slightly on the fence about attending, I fell in love with the College immediately. I loved and still do love, most everything about it including the crazy Core that helped me to conquer my fears of math!


What was the most important experience of your development at the University of Chicago that contributed to your professional success?

This is a difficult question because experiences can be so varied, and often built upon each other. Nevertheless, I think my time spent with the UCSC helping to assist the surrounding communities, along with the experience of helping to build financial discipline at OBS and the 2nd floor Coffee Shop had a major impact on my development. At first blush, these two things may seem odd, but they helped me to marry and practically synthesize a path for the “for profit and not-for-profit world” to collaborate.


As a young college student, these two worlds often seemed to be on parallel paths or even at odds with each other. My experiences in those roles helped cement my view on the critical need for economic empowerment in my community. While at the College I began to see first-hand how to affect that empowerment, not just dream it up, but to see what it actually looked like in practice.


Do you have advice for someone who is thinking of giving back for the first time?

I believe giving back is a deeply personal experience often colored by your historical exposure to different issues. In that light, my only advice would be to do what speaks to you. Remember to be patient regarding progress but no less relentless in your efforts.


How would you like to see the affinity group evolve in the future?

The group is doing well and having great success connecting us all together. It would also be nice if UCABA and the College were to build a more extensive partnership, aimed at seeking out more of those bright and deserving young African American students that should be at the College.


On a less serious note:  What do you like to order when you visit the Medici? And, have you ever climbed to the top of Rockefeller Chapel to enjoy the view and curse the narrowness of the staircase?

I always order the pizza (cheese only) and the mocha malt! I have never climbed the top of Rockefeller Chapel.