36 Years Later, Former Gopher Football Star Marion Barber Jr. Graduates

May 11, 2017 08:40 PM

In 1981 Marion Barber Junior left the University of Minnesota as the Gopher football team's all-time leading rusher and headed to the NFL.  He also left without a diploma.  

Now, 36 years later, he has that too.


After what he jokingly calls "my 36-year Spring Break", the 57-year-old grandfather walked with the rest of the Class of 2016 at graduation ceremonies Thursday night at Mariucci Arena.

"This will be the second greatest walk of my life," Barber said before the event.

He gave credit to the person who was with him for the greatest walk of his life - his wife Karen - for pushing him to make the decision to return to school and commit to finishing his degree.

Click the video box above to watch KSTP Sports' entire interview with Barber shortly before he walked the stage at his graduation and video of him at the graduation ceremony

Barber's degree in Youth Studies comes from the U of M's College of Education and Human Development.  He earned it over two years through a program that assists former athletes who wish to return to the University to complete unfinished degrees.

According to Barber, he earned all A's and two B's in his coursework, and never missed a class.

The degree work was specific to Barber's job as an educational assistant at Armstrong High School in Robbinsdale. 

Barber's three sons- Marion III, Dom and Thomas all followed in his footsteps attending the U and playing for the Gophers. Marion and Dom both preceded their father at the U, Thomas is currently a sophomore.



Chris Long

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