Hometown connection: Wichita
News release prepared by:
Olivia Blanco, 785-532-2753, oblanco@k-state.edu

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

ROLE MODEL: FORMER K-STATE VOLLEYBALL PLAYER TO BE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION'S STUDENT COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER

MANHATTAN -- In less than a month, Kansas State University's Charissa Dugan will start her first full-time job. But before taking on the challenges of the work force, Dugan has once last challenge to complete at the university: serving as the student commencement speaker for the College of Business Administration.

Dugan, Wichita, who is graduating Saturday, Dec. 10, with bachelor's degrees in finance and accounting, was selected for the speaking honor because of her leadership and excellence as an undergraduate.

"I was very excited to hear that I had been nominated and selected to be the commencement speaker. It is truly an honor as it will be a very special day for me, my family and everyone there," she said.

During her time at the College of Business Administration, Dugan has earned a 3.9 grade point average; she's has been active with the Student Finance Association, where she was the vice president for four semesters; and she has completed two internships, receiving a full-time offer with Cargill during her last one.

"I believe Charissa will be successful based on her work ethic and great communication skills," said Rodney Vogt, instructor of accounting and Ernst and Young teaching fellow. "She has great natural leadership skills."

The middle child and only girl in a family of five children, she grew up loving Kansas State University and dreaming of being on the university's volleyball team.

"I can't believe I made it on the team," Dugan said with a smile, even though a back injury during her sophomore year forced her to end her volleyball career. "I got hurt in 2008 and played until the following spring while doing physical therapy. I waited to remove myself from the team; I didn't want to."

After giving up volleyball, Dugan redirected her energy toward school, becoming more involved with the College of Business Administration. She was able to take a summer internship because she no longer had to focus on volleyball.

"Charissa is an extraordinary student and person. When a back injury ended her ability to play on the university's varsity volleyball team, she decided to get heavily involved in the social and service activities of our college and has been a great student leader," said Scott Hendrix, instructor of finance and Gates Capital Management faculty fellow. "She has been the recipient of several academic honors and also served the college in many ways, including faculty recruitment and Telefund."

Hendrix nominated Dugan for the honor.

"I learned a lot playing volleyball: time management, attitude, hard work," Dugan said. But she said it was the Student Finance Association that gave her one of the memories she cherishes the most about her time in the college.

"Meeting Warren Buffett was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said. "After dinner we were waiting in line to have pictures taken with him, and when it was my turn he got down on one knee and proposed to me -- as a joke," she said.

Dugan, who has always been good with numbers, says her first accounting and finance classes in college made her know they were the right majors for her, even though she didn't think she wanted to take another accounting class after taking one in high school.

"Rodney Vogt told me to come to his side," she said of selecting accounting as part of her dual major.

The daughter and sister of entrepreneurs, Dugan thinks that she might want to own a business one day. She knows her degrees in accounting and finance will come in handy.

"You have to know accounting and finance before you do anything else in a business. They are a very important part of it," she said.