Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Waugh, Carlisle to speak at graduate, undergraduate commencement

May 1, 2016

Wendy Waugh
Wendy Waugh

CHADRON – Chadron State College spring commencement ceremonies are set for Saturday, May 7.

Dr. Wendy Waugh will be the speaker at the graduate ceremony in Memorial Hall at 8 a.m. Waugh is a professor of business at Chadron State College.

Chris Carlisle will be the speaker at the undergraduate ceremony in the Chicoine Center at 10 a.m. Carlisle, a 2016 Chadron State College Distinguished Alumni recipient, has been the strength and conditioning coach for the Seattle Seahawks since 2010.

Both events will be broadcast online at

Dr. Wendy Waugh

Commencement Speaker

Dr. Wendy Waugh, professor of business at Chadron State College, said once she found her niche in teaching everything else in her life fell into place.

“Teaching is the sum of everything I was interested in. Everything I loved screamed teaching, but I didn’t see it,” she said.

After earning her first bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College, Waugh worked a few years as an office manager and a database administrator. She said they were valuable experiences, but she didn’t feel she was doing what she really wanted.

When she returned to WSC to earn a second bachelor’s degree in secondary business education, she instantly reconnected with business faculty members from three years earlier and received immediate confirmation she was pursuing the right career path.

“Teaching found me,” she said.

In 1992, Waugh completed a master’s degree in education with a business specialization from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Later that year, she moved to Chadron.

Over the next eight years at CSC, she worked in residence life, taught classes in business marketing and information systems and served as a senior programmer analyst in financial records systems. She earned an MBA from CSC in 1995 and was hired as an assistant professor of business in 2000.

Two years later, and with one young child, she completed a Ph.D. from Capella University in Organization and Management with an information management specialization. She was promoted to associate professor in 2003 and became a tenured professor in 2008.

Waugh wanted to have all her doctoral coursework completed before she delivered her second daughter and she worked to meet that goal.

“I just put my head down and did it. You appreciate the magnitude of an endeavor like that later, looking back. I was fortunate because everyone at CSC was very supportive of me during that time,” Waugh said.

In her 24 years of service at Chadron State College, Waugh has served on more than a dozen Presidential and Faculty Senate committees, including two presidential search committees.

She chairs the Faculty Senate Educational Technology Committee designed to improve communication regarding technology service information, trainings, and the status of information technology projects.

“This committee has been instrumental in testing and piloting a number of systems on campus, including the Office 365 initiative. We’ve also taken on faculty-led trainings and have provided invaluable feedback to technology professionals regarding the technology needs of faculty,” Waugh said.

Waugh’s contributions to the CSC community have been recognized in many ways.

In 1996 and 1997, she was honored as the Outstanding Phi Beta Lambda Adviser and she earned the CSC Teaching Excellence Award in 2009.

She is also certified in Quality Matters and has substantial experience in curriculum development.

Waugh has authored or co-authored more than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles during her time at CSC. Most articles are focused on teaching techniques to help students develop and improve their critical thinking skills.

She has been a co-presenter for 15 national presentations with published proceedings in addition to many local and regional presentations. She has also been a mentor for new faculty since 2003.

Waugh is a proponent of the flipped classroom in which students are required to read the assignment ahead of time and come to class prepared. The teacher serves the role of facilitator rather than lecturer, and engages students by asking carefully crafted questions. Students participate and are accountable in a flip classroom, Waugh said.

“I learn from my students all the time. The old adage is for the student to surpass the teacher. It’s so rewarding to keep in touch with them, watch them grow, change and graduate,” she said.

Chris Carlisle

Commencement Speaker

Chris Carlisle, the Seattle Seahawks’ head strength and conditioning coach, is a self-described “student of movement.”

A 1985 graduate of Chadron State College, Carlisle will also be the most recent recipient of the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Certainly winning a Super Bowl ring is a major accomplishment, but Carlisle has more jewelry than most. Through more than 32 years of his teaching and coaching career, he’s been involved with 19 national championship teams and he’s just the second CSC graduate to ever earn a Super Bowl ring.

Four of his national championships occurred in football while he worked on staffs at Trinity Valley, the University of Tennessee and the University of Southern California (USC). He said one of his proudest achievements in sports is that he may be the only person to have won football championships coaching at the high school, junior college and major college levels and the NFL.

“The ride has been great and it all goes back to Chadron State. Chadron State gave me the foundation that has allowed me to compete at every level I have worked at,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle, a native of Mason City, Iowa, came to Chadron State in 1981 after transferring from North Iowa Area Community College. Carlisle played football and occupied various positions on the Eagles’ offensive line for three seasons before graduating in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in education.

Carlisle’s older brother, Steve, also graduated from Chadron State. The two played one season together and Carlisle thinks fondly of it.

“In one game against Northern State, I was forced to move to from tackle to center because of injuries and Steve came in the game to play quarterback,” he said. “That was the only time in our sports career that I snapped the ball to him.”

Clearly, family is important to Carlisle and he credits his parents, Dallas and Marian, as his biggest role models.

“My greatest influences are my parents. My father with his drive and toughness and my mother for her compassion and composure,” he said. “Neither graduated from college but all five of their children did. It would have been a lot easier to be average but they would not let me or any my siblings settle for anything but the best.”

That attitude was further instilled in Carlisle as an undergraduate student from a conversation he had with former football coach, Jerry Welch.

“Jerry Welch once said you can make Chadron State as big or as small as you want to. You can make it small by whining and complaining or you can make it big and take advantage of all the opportunities. I chose to make it big. The sense of community during the time I was in Chadron was tremendous. It’s always going to be special. I value the education I received and the time I spent in western Nebraska,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle has had a distinguished career spanning four decades. He’s coached and taught in six different states and has worked closely with some prominent collegiate and professional athletes who have changed the way sports are perceived. In addition, he has worked with numerous All-Americans, three Heisman Trophy winners, Olympic gold medalists and world champions.

Following graduation, Carlisle’s career started humbly when he coached football at Dodge High School for one year. He then spent six years as the offensive line and strength coach at Blytheville High School in Arkansas before breaking into collegiate coaching as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Arkansas for two years. Once he earned his master’s degree in history from Arkansas, he coached at a college prep school before serving as the offensive line and strength coach at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

Carlisle got his big break when he was hired as the associate head strength and conditioning coach at Tennessee in 1998. After three successful years with the Volunteers, Carlisle was hired by USC football coach Pete Carroll to be the strength and conditioning coach for the Trojans. He worked at USC for nine years and played a pivotal role in one of the most recent college football dynasties before joining the Seahawks’ staff in 2010.

His time at USC was incredibly successful. He was named the 2006 National Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year and USC played in nine bowl games.

His tenure in Los Angeles wasn’t without some adversity, though. In December 2000, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and began radiation treatments. He kept his illness to himself and Carroll until it went into remission in 2001 when he informed USC players. He was one of 17 nominees for the 2003 Most Courageous Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America and he was again nominated in 2005.

Carlisle has continued to have great success as a coach with Seattle. The Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII and fell just short of a second title a year later. In six seasons, the Seahawks have won 60 games and qualified for the NFL playoffs five times.

Carlisle and his wife, Louon, have one son, Alex.

—Alex Helmbrecht, Director of College Relations

—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator

Chris Carlisle
Chris Carlisle