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(Austin) – The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) has honored six higher education leaders and two colleges with 2019 NACUBO Awards.

NACUBO's annual awards recognize individual and institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management and were presented during several association events in 2019—most recently, the NACUBO 2019 Annual Meeting being held this week in Austin, Texas.

“NACUBO award recipients exemplify the best of the sector,” said NACUBO President and CEO Susan Whealler Johnston. “I am particularly pleased to recognize these outstanding individuals at such a critical point for American higher education. As we face both significant challenges and great opportunities, we need business leaders like these. They help us innovate, excel, and create sustainable business models, allowing us to continue to provide opportunity for students.”

2019 Distinguished Business Officer Award

This year, two chief business officers received NACUBO’s most prestigious award, given for a career’s worth of outstanding contributions to business and financial management in higher education.

Bob Brown is the senior vice president for finance and administration at the University of North Texas, his alma mater. He has been a chief business officer for more than 30 years and currently oversees his university’s budget and finance area as well as safety and risk management, facilities and local construction, police, parking and transportation, information technology, and policy development. Brown has a long record of service and leadership to NACUBO, regional affiliate SACUBO, and numerous other associations.  

Michael T. Unebasami is the associate vice president for administrative affairs at the University of Hawaii Community College System. Unebasami’s many accomplishments include overseeing nearly $800 million of capital improvements, growing the system’s operating budget from $90.8 million to $248 million, and introducing a popular electronic tenure and promotion process. He is a past NACUBO board member, chair of the NACUBO Two-Year College Constituent Committee, and a past board president of regional affiliate WACUBO, among many other volunteer efforts.

2019 Service to NACUBO Award

Edward A. Kania, vice president of business and finance and treasurer at Rollins College (FL), received the Service to NACUBO Award for his numerous contributions to the association, including as a faculty member for the Future Business Officers Program and as a peer mentor for new business officers. He is a past member of the NACUBO Small Constituents Council and also is active in regional affiliates, serving as a past chair of EACUBO’s Small College Committee and a member of SACUBO’s Small Institutions Constituent Committee. Kania also has participated in NACUBO events, podcasts, and publications.

2019 Excellence in Sustainability Award

Two colleges received this honor for excellence and innovation in specific sustainability leadership areas including finance, facilities, operations, environment, community, and climate.

Carleton College in Minnesota is transforming the energy profile of its campus with its Utility Master Plan. Through initiatives including the transition of its 100-year-old steam system to hot water heating from a centralized ground source geothermal heat pump system, the college anticipates a 40-percent reduction in central plant energy use and a sizeable reduction in carbon emissions, among other benefits.

Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania is a pioneer in carbon pricing, with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. Its Carbon Charge Program creates an internal price on carbon emissions, which generates about $340,000 a year for Swarthmore’s Green Revolving Loan Fund, as well as campus utility planning, renewable energy, metering upgrades, and educational programming.

“Linking sustainability initiatives to business strategy is essential – not just for the environment, but for the bottom lines of colleges and universities as well,” Johnston said. “Carleton College and Swarthmore College are the innovative pioneers the higher education community needs to model as we look for creative ways to evolve and improve.”

Three additional awards recipients were honored at other signature NACUBO events in 2019:

2019 Rodney H. Adams Endowment Management Award

Elizabeth P. George, director of investments at North Carolina State University, received the Rodney H. Adams Endowment Management Award at the 2019 Endowment and Debt Management Forum in February. She manages and directs university investment portfolios with assets exceeding $1.2 billion. George developed the NC State Foundation's Sustainable Responsible Impact Fund in 2014, serves on the editorial committee for The Investment Institute, and is a frequent presenter at industry meetings including NACUBO’s.

2019 Student Financial Services Award

Doug Schantz, director of the Office of Student Financial Services at Wittenberg University in Ohio, received this award during the 2019 NACUBO Student Financial Services Conference in March. Working for his alma mater, he oversees an approximately $41-million annual student receivables portfolio and a Perkins and institutional loan portfolio of nearly $6 million, and he frequently explains college costs at local high schools and in media interviews. Schantz is a past chair of the NACUBO Student Financial Services Council and has presented at numerous NACUBO meetings.

2019 Daniel D. Robinson Accounting Award

Peggy Arrivas, the University of California’s associate vice president and systemwide controller, received this award at the 2019 Higher Education Accounting Forum in April. She is responsible for the development and implementation of accounting and financial policies for the university and its 10 campuses, medical centers, retirement system, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and campus foundations. Arrivas represents NACUBO on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council and is a past chair of the association’s Accounting Principles Council.

For more information on the NACUBO Awards, please contact Katy McCreary, NACUBO’s senior manager of public relations and news, or visit the NACUBO website.


NACUBO, founded in 1962, is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country. NACUBO works to advance the economic vitality, business practices, and support of higher education institutions in pursuit of their missions. For more information, visit


Katy McCreary

Director, Public Relations


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