When she came to Tarleton State University, Kimberlyn Crisp was afraid to talk in front of people.

On Friday she will deliver the commencement address at a 10 a.m. ceremony in Stephenville.

She credits her time at Tarleton for her change in attitude.

“All my professors pushed me out of my comfort zone. They told me I could do much more than what I thought I could. That has made me a much stronger person. I’m more vocal and not afraid to take chances now.”

Crisp, from La Vernia, near San Antonio, graduates Friday with a degree in agriculture services and development. Other than her time in classes, much of the last four years has been spent with horses.

A member of the university stock horse team, she also worked at an area ranch and for a local farrier, and she has three horses she shows in American Paint Horse Association and Pinto Horse Association of America events.

She regularly places in the Top 10 at shows and even has a world championship to her credit.

“It has been a really busy time,” she said. “I’ve worked three jobs almost the entire four years here, and now I have an internship that takes 40-plus hours a week.”

A friend from South Texas who came to Stephenville for college gave Kimberlyn a weekend tour while she was still in high school.

“I just fell in love with the place,” she said. “I applied at other schools, but after I visited Tarleton I immediately knew I wanted to go here.”

Her commencement address focuses on her experiences as a student at Tarleton. 

“My goal is for the speech to be very motivational. I want everyone to take a stand and let their voices be heard, to go on from here and do great things.”

Kimberlyn, who hopes for a career in pharmaceutical sales, has been contacting friends to try to secure extra tickets for Friday to accommodate the large number of family members from La Vernia who want to see her get her diploma. Foremost in that group are her mother, Lynnette Gray, and grandmother, Joyce Best.

“Those two have had the most influence on my life,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing mother. She has had a lot to do with all the success I’ve had.”

Success like now being able to speak to a crowd.

“I’m very excited,” KImberlyn said. “Four years ago I didn’t like giving speeches. Now I’m making the commencement address!”