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Higher Education Leader Kara D. Freeman Named NACUBO President and CEO


Kara D. Freeman

(Washington, DC)—The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is pleased to announce Kara D. Freeman, a strategic leader with extensive national higher education experience, as its next president and chief executive officer, effective June 1. She will be the first African American woman to serve in this role.

Freeman brings more than three decades of experience to NACUBO and is joining from the American Council on Education (ACE), where she has worked since 2006. She most recently served as senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO), with the responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the administrative and operational areas of the organization. She previously was ACE’s vice president of administration and chief information officer.

As an executive leader at ACE, Freeman’s portfolio included providing strategic thought leadership on organization-wide initiatives, representing ACE with constituency groups such as the ACE Women’s Network, and playing a leading role in ACE’s efforts to share advocacy information with presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and an MBA from The George Washington University. She also holds a Certified Association Executive credential from the American Society of Association Executives.

“It is an honor and privilege to become the next president and CEO of NACUBO, an organization with a vital mission, strong and well-respected legacy, and exciting future,” Freeman said. “I am energized by this opportunity and eager to get to work with our board, staff, and members to build on this tremendous foundation and lead NACUBO forward as we help our institutions meet the evolving and complex challenges facing American higher education.”

Freeman was selected from a nationwide search for the association’s new leader and succeeds Lynne Schaefer, who has been serving in an interim capacity since August 2022. Among other initiatives, Freeman will oversee the fulfillment of NACUBO’s updated Strategic Blueprint, which prioritizes transformations, strategic leadership, and advocacy and engagement.

"As an experienced COO, Kara Freeman has an important appreciation for the depth and breadth of the business officer role our members have at colleges and universities," said Nicole Trufant, NACUBO board chair and Colby College vice president and chief financial officer. "During our search process, her warmth, energy, intelligence, and forward-looking vision set her apart from the other candidates. We are confident Kara will inspire new approaches from NACUBO to meet today's changing higher education landscape.”

NACUBO, founded in 1962, is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 1,700 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