Former Dickinson State quarterback Hayden Gibson spent his final semester for his undergraduate degree just like every other college student across the country this spring.

“I was actually student teaching (when the coronavirus pandemic started). The whole beginning of the semester I was at the middle school, and the last month or so I was at the elementary school,” he said.” That got cut short and I think I had about two weeks left. It was difficult, but we made things work.”

Gibson and his roommates had to keep busy during the last months with school online, and that is exactly what they did.

“We played video games and tried to get outside as much as possible. We played some volleyball and we wanted to stay isolated,” he said. “The golf course opened up and I went golfing a few times. That was huge, because I love to golf.”

At last, the semester finally ended and Gibson and many of his teammates earned what they had been striving for -- college degrees.

He earned that degree in physical education last weekend, but just like the end of the semester, graduation looked very different.

Dickinson State hosted a drive-by parade and graduation ceremony, but Gibson opted to spend the weekend with the people who matter most to him.

His parents came down from Bismarck and they went to dinner and lunch the next day, and his mother even brought a gown for pictures.

“It was fun having my parents around and some of my buddies,” he said.

The big weekend gave him time to reflect on his time as a Blue Hawk, and one thing he will take away from graduation is his perseverance in school.

With football, time wasn’t always easy to find, but Gibson always made sure his academics were in order so he could reach the milestone of graduation.

Desite graduating, Gibson's time at Dickinson State and on the football field is not over.

“I am getting my master's at Dickinson State,” he said. “I think I am going to coach here and take a graduate assistant position. I am really excited for that.”

Gibson hopes he can help the Blue Hawks compete for a sixth straight conference championship, and he wants to impart wisdom on whoever takes snaps behind center next fall.