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UW regents to consider final recommendation for president

January 20, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin System leaders are close to announcing their pick for system president.

The Board of Regents is slated to meet Friday afternoon to make their choice between UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt and business attorney Jay Rothman.

The selection comes after the system has gone two years without a permanent leader and during a time of heightened concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson has been serving as interim president since Ray Cross retired in June 2020. The regents named Jim Johnsen, then president of the University of Alaska, as the lone finalist for the job in June 2020 but Johnsen withdrew his name from consideration that same month amid a massive backlash about the selection process and his spotty record in Alaska.

Schmidt has spent the past nine years as chancellor at UW-Eau Claire. Rothman is the chairman and CEO of the Foley & Lardner law firm. He has never worked in higher education.