Chris Kabourek, senior vice president and chief financial officer for the University of Nebraska system, will assume the role of interim president on Jan. 1. The appointment was approved in a unanimous vote by the NU Board of Regents on Dec. 1.
Kabourek, a Nebraska native, first-generation college student, University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus and 26-year veteran of the university, will succeed Ted Carter. Carter is stepping down Dec. 31 to become president of Ohio State University.
“I could not be more pleased with the Board of Regents’ selection of Chris Kabourek as interim president,” said Chancellor Rodney Bennett. “Chris is a proven leader and, since I began my work as chancellor on July 1, I have observed Chris demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of the University of Nebraska system.
“His leadership and ability to develop relationships across the system will continue progress toward the goals outlined in the N2025 Strategic Plan. I look forward to my ongoing partnership with Chris and congratulate him on his interim appointment.”
Tim Clare, chair of the Board of Regents, lauded Kabourek for his love of Nebraska, the university and desire to do whatever he can to help the institution.
“That’s the kind of leadership and commitment we need as we move forward with our plans to take the University of Nebraska to a new level of excellence,” Clare said. “Our university will be in good hands at this important juncture.”
Rob Schafer, vice chair of the board, said Kabourek has demonstrated a strong Nebraska work ethic, common sense and accountability throughout his time at the university.
“He will bring those same qualities to the president’s role,” Schafer said. “As we execute our plan for greater growth and competitiveness, we need someone with deep institutional knowledge, trusted relationships and a willingness to make tough decisions for the betterment of our university and state.
“Chris is that leader, and we are lucky that he is willing to step up and seamlessly continue our work.”
Kabourek told the board he was humbled by the appointment and the trust they have in him.
“I know from my own experience as a first-generation student that higher education changes lives and I want to make sure that opportunity exists for all Nebraska students,” Kabourek said. “We have an exciting plan in place, a talented team to get the job done, and in the months ahead we are going to work as hard as we can to deliver results that the Board and all Nebraskans expect and deserve from their university.”
Kabourek, who grew up in David City, joined the university in 1997 after earning a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master of Business Administration from UNL. He has served as chief financial officer since 2018, overseeing all financial and administrative services that support NU’s $3.3 billion operating budget, including budgeting, facilities and capital planning, accounting, procurement and human resources. He works closely with the board, president, chancellors, and campus chief business and academic officers, as well as the governor, elected officials and other leaders within and outside the university.
As chief financial officer, Kabourek led the development of the university’s new deferred maintenance strategy and has helped the university achieve consistently high marks from credit ratings agencies, successes that save taxpayer dollars while meeting student, faculty and staff needs. He played a key role in the creation of the Nebraska Promise financial aid program and has provided leadership on strategic planning efforts and numerous legislative operating and capital budget requests.
Kabourek is also active in the community as a college basketball referee and youth sports coach. He and his wife, Jamie, have three sons, the oldest of whom is a freshman at UNO.
“The Board of Regents has made an outstanding selection in Chris Kabourek,” Carter said. “I’ve relied on Chris for candid advice and creative solutions time and again over the past four years. He cares deeply about students and understands the great responsibility and opportunity that come with stewarding precious Nebraska resources. I know Chris will keep this university moving in the right direction.”
The NU Board of Regents is conducting a national search for the university system’s ninth president. Kabourek will hold the interim role in addition to his CFO title and duties until a permanent successor is named and takes office. In accepting the interim role, Kabourek has agreed to not be a candidate for the permanent position.