Morgan Knight’s toughest struggle in getting her college degree was the great distance from her family.

“My family lives far away,” said Morgan, who graduates this week from Tarleton State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural services and development. “Mom lives in Louisiana, and family is huge for us. We love to do things together, have Sunday dinner. I had to learn to adapt to not being there all the time and conquer that inner personal challenge.”

She overcame her issues, however, earned the title of Outstanding Graduate in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences, and will deliver the 4 p.m. address at Tarleton’s commencement exercises Aug. 10.

The ceremony features summer graduates for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, and the College of Science and Technology.

After graduating from Waco’s Robinson High School, the challenge of being away from home presented itself at Texas A&M early in Morgan’s collegiate career.

“I went there for a semester and figured out it was not for me. I moved back to Waco and began attending Tarleton on the campus of McLennan Community College. I couldn’t complete my degree there, so I moved to Stephenville to finish.”

Her commencement speech highlights the challenges she overcame after finally landing at Tarleton.

“I’m going to talk about my struggle figuring out going to a big school wasn’t for me and all the different things that came up along the way,” she said. “About how I came to Tarleton and found a new family and worked through all the things I had to overcome at such a large school.”

A vital part of Morgan’s story is how she found new people to lean on.  

“I like how at Tarleton you’re part of one big family. Everybody’s very welcoming. I wasn’t expecting that, but I was very pleased when I got there and found such good friends.”

After graduation, Morgan plans to enroll in a master’s program at Tarleton with the goal of a career in education.

“My mom is an educator,” she said. “There are lots of educators in my family, and I love getting to teach. It’s such an important thing, teaching that agriculture puts food on the table and clothes on your back. I feel like it’s important the young generation grasps that concept.”

First, though, is her commencement speech.

“I’m very nervous,” she admitted. “Getting up in front of family, peers, everyone. But I’m very excited, too. It’s a huge honor to be chosen for this.”

An honor her family will share with her in person.

“They’re all going to be here,” Morgan said. “My parents, my grandparents, my brothers, one from Tennessee, one from Louisiana. I get to see everyone and celebrate.”