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Meet the Commencement Speakers: Paul Dybedahl

Paul Dybedahl

Paul Dybedahl came to South Dakota State University as a first-year student unsure of what he wanted to study. 

“My family has deep ties to SDSU. My parents met here, my brother and sister-in-law met here … coming to SDSU was a natural choice,” he said.

The Colton native graduates Saturday with a master’s degree in communication studies and a position as the National Cattleman’s Beef Association’s communications manager.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurial studies from SDState, Dybedahl worked for the SDSU Foundation for one year before returning to class.

“I knew continuing my education was something I wanted to do, and being a teaching assistant was also something I was interested in. I have enjoyed teaching speech classes these last couple of years,” he said.

The former Hobo Day Grand Pooba had a wide range of experiences during his time at SDState, including Students’ Association, Greek Life, National FFA Organization and several others. While he has had several speaking engagements before, Saturday’s role the Graduate Commencement Ceremony speaker will be a highlight.

“The theme [of my speech] is we live our lives as a vocation. Each of us has a career or a path we follow after graduation … but what about the things we put off in our vocations we wouldn’t normally do, but in the rest of our lives we put off?” he said. “If we can then live the rest of our lives or our entire lives as a vocation, then that’s what we should do.”

Although Dybedahl will no longer be found sitting in a classroom at SDState, he said the experiences and relationships have made his roots even stronger with the university.

“You’re always a Jackrabbit,” he said. “You really develop a deep connection to this place … I think for a lot of people, this place stands for a lot of the growth that you had, the friendships you made and the things you learned in that process, too.”