SOE alum David Hinton Jr.: 2021 10 Under 10 honoree

Special Agent, U.S. Secret Service

VCU Alumni’s 10 Under 10 awards program recognizes the noteworthy and distinctive achievements made by alumni who earned their first VCU degree (undergraduate, graduate, or professional) within the past 10 years. The VCU School of Education has two alumni being honored in 2021. One of them is David Hinton Jr. (M.Ed. ’13/E), who graduated with a master's degree in sports leadership (then in the School of Education, now in the School of Business).

David Hinton, an alum of the VCU School of Education.
David Hinton Jr. (M.Ed. ’13/E)

A basketball court might seem like an unlikely training ground for a high-stakes job in the U.S. Secret Service, but it proved true for David Hinton Jr. Hinton aligns his experience as a student-athlete to his job protecting high-level officials: “There is no room for complacency or entitlement. No day is ever the same, so you have to approach each one with a determined and humble mindset.”

Hinton came to VCU from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and he recalls “just knowing” VCU was the right place for him as soon as he and his father first visited campus. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in homeland security and emergency preparedness, he played for the Rams from 2008-13, including four NCAA tournaments and the historic 2011 Final Four season. “I loved being a student-athlete at VCU. It required adopting and maintaining high standards for myself, and I carry those with me to this day,” he says. VCU Athletics recognized those standards with the Iron Ram Award, which honors elite student-athletes with an exceptional work ethic.

As an undergraduate in the Wilder School, Hinton interned at the Virginia General Assembly and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, experiences that piqued his interest working in the public sector. He earned his master’s degree in sports leadership and considered several lucrative corporate jobs, but ultimately knew he wanted a service-driven career.

In 2014, he became a member of the U.S. Secret Service, an ever-changing job that has taken him to six continents and allows him to witness history firsthand. Above all, Hinton prioritizes paying it forward, as a way to express his gratitude for what VCU gave him. He remains engaged with the Wilder School and the Center for Sport Leadership, mentoring students and student-athletes and offering guidance about careers in government service and federal law enforcement. He serves as a mentor through the VCU Basketball Development Center and Student Athlete Support Services, and is a featured speaker for the Rams Leadership Academy.

Hinton is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and has been involved in its voter registration initiative and its Brother’s Keeper program, which supports older, disabled and more vulnerable members of the fraternity and their families. Hinton has also been involved with the March of Dimes and as a volunteer youth basketball coach in Alexandria, Virginia. He is passionate about helping young people develop a positive relationship with law enforcement.

Hinton proudly credits his VCU experience for instilling in him a commitment to service and mission that is bigger than himself. “Our work is a ‘no fail’ mission. If we mess up, the world stops. The sacrifice for the job is great, but the rewards are even greater.”