Michael Christen, Director of Business Services at UNK and Executive Director of University Village, received the KUDOS Award from the University of Nebraska Board of Trustees at the June 25 meeting.
The KUDOS Awards recognize academic staff for their professional expertise, service, and “superior dedication” to UNK and the University of Nebraska. This is the award for the best university staff.
Hailing from Anselmo, Christen’s history with UNK began long before he joined the management team in 2016. His grandmother graduated from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1938 and his mother graduated from Nebraska State Teachers College. Kearney State College in 1989. Christen graduated from UNK in 2014 before completing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Kansas in 2015.
As Director of Business Services, Christen oversees campus food services, the Antelope bookstore, and contractual partnerships such as dealerships, vending machines and banking services. He also manages all UNK contracts, with advice from the General Counsel, oversees courier services and sponsorship contracts, and assists departments with financial analyzes. He co-chaired Travel BRT in creating the university-wide employee travel policy and helped manage the refurbishment of all retail food concepts, the campus bookstore and the current refurbishment of the main dining room. He also maintains and oversees insurance policies and claims and was the primary contact on insurance after the Bruner Hall of Science flood earlier this year.
“He has been fantastic in the process of restoring the BHS,” said Kim Carlson, professor of biology and deputy head of the department. “He really cares about him, and it shows in his work ethic, his commitment to the faculty and his commitment to UNK.”
As Executive Director of University Village, Christen manages development operations, is Executive Director and Secretary of the University Village Development Corporation of Kearney, and researches and assists current and potential developers. He led the efforts to create and execute the University Village Master Lease and the creation of covenants, conditions and restrictions and also executed the site replating. Christen was involved in the recent $ 48 million multi-phase investment in housing development with private partners and is currently working to recreate the logos, branding and marketing.
Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance Jon Watts describes him as “extremely talented” and someone who “consistently produces great work and constantly brainstorming new ideas to overcome unique challenges”.