Michael Christen, director of business services at UNK and executive director of University Village, received the University of Nebraska Board of Regents KUDOS award during the June 25 meeting.
KUDOS awards recognize university staff for their professional expertise, service and “superior dedication” to UNK and the University of Nebraska. It is the university’s top staff award.
A native of Anselmo, Christen’s history with UNK started long before he joined the managerial team in 2016. His grandmother graduated from Nebraska State Teachers College in 1938 and his mother graduated from 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 dining services, the Antelope Bookstore and contracted partnerships such as concessions, vending and banking services. He also manages all UNK contracts, with guidance from general counsel, supervises mail services and sponsorship contracts and assists departments with financial analyses. He co-chaired Travel BRT in creating the universitywide employee travel policy and assisted in managing the renovation of all dining retail concepts, the campus bookstore and the current renovation of the main dining hall. He also maintains and oversees insurance policies and claims and served as the primary insurance contact after the Bruner Hall of Science flooded earlier this year.
“He has been fantastic in the process of restoring BHS,” said biology professor and assistant department chair Kim Carlson. “He really cares, and it shows in his work ethic, commitment to faculty and commitment to UNK.”
As executive director of University Village, Christen manages developmental operations, serves as executive director and secretary of the University Village Development Corporation of Kearney and seeks and assists current and potential developers. He led efforts in creating and executing the University Village master lease and the creation of covenants, conditions and restrictions and also executed the site replatting. Christen assisted in the recent multiphase, $48 million housing development investment with private partners and is currently working to recreate 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 brainstorms new ideas to overcome unique challenges.”