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South Dakota Family Has Four Sons Graduate On Same Day

With four sons and three daughters, the Sutton family of South Dakota is used to being busy.

But this Saturday — when all four sons will graduate from three different institutions — will be a particularly full day for them.

Twins Jared and Jacob Sutton, 23, are graduating from college, while older sons Ryan, 25, and Anthony, 27, are graduating from law school. All their schools are in-state — but they're too far apart for parents Chuck and Val Sutton to attend every commencement, so the family plans to split up.

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"Our graduations are spaced out enough that they can make Jacob's and Jared's, but for law school, we have a hooding ceremony on Friday, the night before, that they're going to come to," said Ryan, who along with Anthony is graduating from University of South Dakota law school.

Their parents will see Jared graduate from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota, at 10:30 a.m., and then will zip to Jacob's commencement at South Dakota State University in Brookings, nearly 40 miles away, according to The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, which first reported the Suttons' story.

The Sutton family of Flandreau, South Dakota, will have four sons all graduating this Saturday. From left to right: Jacob, age 23; Ryan, age 25; Jared, age 23; and Anthony, age 27. Twins Jacob and Jared are graduating from undergraduate school, while Ryan and Anthony are both graduating from law school. Courtesy of the Sutton family

Val, the siblings' mother, said Saturday will be exciting, but said she wishes she could be at every commencement.

"You want to be there for each and every child. It's such a special day. It breaks my heart that I can't be there," she told NBC News.

In addition to their four sons, the Suttons have three daughters — Leandra and Lynsey, who are older than the brothers, and younger sister Kelsey, who is 15. One sister will go to Ryan and Anthony's commencement so they have someone to cheer them on, then the whole family will gather at home Saturday evening with friends and relatives to celebrate.

"It will be a really good time for all of us to get together and appreciate the moment," Ryan said.

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All four brothers have plans for after graduation: Anthony and Ryan have judicial courtships, Jacob will go to grad school to study higher education, and Jared will join the family's auctioneering and real estate business in Sioux Falls, about 45 miles from their home in Flandreau.

The siblings have always been close, and "all of us are really proud of each other," Ryan said.

"Coming from a big family like this, I think Mom sort of made us, when we were kids, be close. We might not have always been excited about it, but I'm really glad she did," he said.

Even though the family won't be at each son's graduation together, they'll be supporting each other, Val said.

"It's kind of exciting that they can all share in their special day," she said.