Speakers & Honorees
Jacqueline Bussie, Ph.D., is an award-winning author, professor, theologian, and student of life in all its messy beauty, as well as a sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator. Her first book, “The Laughter of the Oppressed,” won the national Trinity Prize. Her second book, “Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith by Breaking the Rules,” won the gold medal for Christian Living in the Illumination Book Awards. Her latest book, “Love Without Limits: Jesus’ Radical Vision for a Love with No Exceptions,” won bronze among Christian Living books in a contest by the website Readers’ Favorite and was named religion book of the year (third place overall for nonfiction) by the Independent Author Network. Publishers Weekly called it “a must-read for all Christians interested in inclusivity for their communities.”
An active servant leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Prof. Bussie spent the last 20 years teaching religion to undergraduates at ELCA colleges and serving as the founding director of the Forum on Faith and Life at Concordia College. Today, she is the executive director of the Collegeville (Minnesota) Institute in Collegeville, Minnesota. Every day, she is amazed and grateful that she gets to write and tell her story, empower others to write and tell theirs, and accompany marvelous people on their journeys of faith, hope, and healing.
Senior Class Speaker
Liam Carls ’23
As the recipient of the Distinguished Senior Award, Liam Carls ’23 gave the senior class address. The award recognizes high academic achievement, service to the campus community, leadership in student organizations, and active engagement beyond the campus.
A physics major, Liam also completed a minor in mathematics and a second in meteorology and climatology. He was actively involved in space science research as a member of the Carthage Microgravity Team and served as president of the Society of Physics Students chapter. He competed as a libero in men’s volleyball during his freshman year.
As a campus sustainability intern for the past two years, Liam worked to manage recycling processes, repurpose electronics, and promote environmentally friendly habits. He spearheaded the Sustainability Summit, a now-annual community event that features expert speakers and organizational booths.
He will soon enter a master’s program in applied physics at the University of Oregon. Liam plans to focus on battery storage technology and clean energy generation.
Prof. Weisling joined the Carthage faculty in 2019 after holding teaching positions at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and National Louis University in Chicago. Her research interests include mentoring and new teacher support, inclusive education, diversity and equity, and support for diverse learners and their teachers.
Before working in higher education, Prof. Weisling worked in public and charter schools in Chicago and Philadelphia — first as an educator (special and general education), case manager, and instructional coach, and later as the co-manager of an instructional coach team.
She has a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a master’s in elementary education (concentration in special education) from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and a bachelor’s in health care policy from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
Cherie Matthaidess Robinson ’01
Carthage presented the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award to Cherie Matthaidess Robinson ’01.
Ms. Robinson is vice president of human resources for Amazon’s international stores, which employ more than 150,000 workers in over 40 countries. Company leaders describe her as “mission-oriented” and “able to rally others.”
With a passion to lead through others, she has progressively taken on more responsibility since joining Amazon in 2012. Before moving west, Ms. Robinson worked for more than a decade in HR management at SC Johnson in Racine, Wisconsin.
A three-generation Carthage family legacy began with her grandfather, Edwin Matthaidess, who taught languages from 1949 to 1976. Extremely active on campus, Ms. Robinson won a senior leadership award, and the 87 career doubles victories she compiled with Kelly (Carstensen) Johnson ’01 still stand as a women’s tennis record.
After completing her undergraduate studies in psychology and business administration, she went on to earn an MBA from Marquette University. Ms. Robinson resides in Seattle with her husband, George, and their four children.
Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt
Carthage presented an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree to Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt of the U.S. Navy.
Originally from Milwaukee, Capt. Bauernschmidt just completed a 21-month tour of duty as commanding officer of the USS Abraham Lincoln. The historic appointment in 2021 made her the first American woman to command an aircraft carrier.
Since being designated a naval aviator in 1996, Capt. Bauernschmidt has accumulated more than 3,000 flight hours as a helicopter pilot and instructor. Totaling seven deployments in support of various military operations, she has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and several other commendations.
On shore, Capt. Bauernschmidt served as senior military adviser to the Office of Global Women’s Issues, an arm of the Secretary of State that works to enhance peace and security for women worldwide. In addition to completing the rigorous Nuclear Power School, she has a Master of Arts from the Naval War College and a Bachelor of Science from the Naval Academy.
Recently nominated for a promotion to rear admiral, lower half, Capt. Bauernschmidt awaits confirmation from the U.S. Senate.