DSU allows 114th FW member to graduate early

April 11, 2017 --

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Staff Sgt. Zachary M. Hakinson, 114th Communications Flight information technology specialist has worked many years to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Cyber Operations, but due to a recent activation to serve his country overseas, Hakinson was going to miss that one day he had worked so hard for; graduation day at Dakota State University.


The university wasn’t going to let that happen.  Working with Hakinson and his schedule, DSU ensured Hakinson was able to complete his degree requirements and is going to be given that opportunity to share his graduation day with his family and friends prior to his departure overseas.  Hakinson’s original date of graduation and graduation ceremony were to be sometime in May.  By that time, Hakinson will be well into his 180-day active duty deployment overseas.  


“Working full-time at the South Dakota Air National Guard and attending college full-time was not an easy task and Zac’s dedication should not go unnoticed.  DSU is making sure that doesn’t happen.” said Chief Master Sgt. Patrick Baustian, 114th Communications Flight chief.


Friends and family of Hakinson’s gathered at Joe Foss Field, S.D., April 11, 2017, to hold a “graduation” ceremony for him.  Dr. Richard Alan Hanson, Provost at DSU, presented Hakinson with his diploma. Dana Kay Hoff, Veterans Benefit Coordinator, and Jane M. Utecht, Strategic Communications Coordinator were also in attendance.


“We think it says a lot about an organization like DSU when they do something like this for one of our members.  Their support of his commitment to our state and nation is commendable.” said Maj. Travis Schuring, 114th Fighter Wing executive officer.


Hakinson,a native of Brookings, S.D. resides in Sioux Falls and attended DSU through the University Center. 


“I want to thank my professors and DSU faculty for working with me and allowing me to receive my degree before my deployment. I also want to thank my supervisors and fellow Airmen who helped me accomplish my educational goals.” said Hakinson.