Keeven's road to graduation

Dustin Keeven receives his diploma after his long road to recovery.

Thousands of Tri-State students walked across the stage this weekend and officially became graduates.

At Quincy University, only one student got a standing ovation from everyone in the auditorium and he didn't even notice.

"My adrenaline kind of kicked in and I was kind of focused on not falling," Dustin Keeven said. "I didn't want to fall in front of everybody, but it felt good."

Dustin says graduation day was a long time coming. In 2008, the once All-Conference football player was involved in a car accident, where he suffered a traumatic brain and spinal cord injury that left him in a coma for three months.

After undergoing rehab for three years, Dustin decided it was time to finish what he started.

"I finally felt like I was up to the task of finishing up my college career," Dustin said.

"It was very difficult at first, but as time has gone on, it's just gotten better and better and Dusty's an inspiration," Deb Keeven, Dustin's mom said.

Dustin's QU family thinks so too.

"He's just inspirational to everyone to keep going on in life and to keep being happy," Molly Wilkerson, Dustin's classmate said.

"He is an inspiration," Barbara Schleppenbach, Dustin's communications professor said. "His colleagues in communication are so proud of him because he stayed himself through out the entire effort, he never lost hope."

For Dustin, graduation means closing one door and opening another.

"It feels good to get it out of the way and start the next chapter of my life," Dustin said.