Famed Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson to serve as UW System Interm President.

After the last remaining candidate in the UW’s search for a new president dropped out, the former governor answered the call. Graphic: Sam Buisman.

Author: Sam Buisman

Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson will serve as the UW System Interim President beginning on July 1.

According to a press release from University Relations, the famed Wisconsin politician accepted the Board of Regents’ offer to serve as interim president after the only remaining candidate in the UW’s search for a new president, former University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen, withdrew his name from consideration as concerns emerged regarding his capabilities. Thompson will fill the office after current UW System President Ray Cross’s term ends on June 30.

Discussing his upcoming tenure in a press release, Thompson pledged to serve the UW System with the passion it deserves.

“The University of Wisconsin System is the state’s most valuable asset, and I will be its biggest advocate and its toughest evaluator,” Thompson said. “No other institution in the state can do more to improve lives, communities, and Wisconsin’s economy.”

After serving in the Wisconsin State Assembly for 15 years, Thompson was elected as Wisconsin’s governor for four consecutive terms, making him the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history. Thompson stepped down from the governorship in 2001, when he was appointed by then-president George W. Bush to be the US Health and Human Services Secretary.

In their release, the Board of Regents touted that Thompson’s HHS experience has prepared him to navigate the UW System through the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Thompson’s term will begin in July, Cross will act as a consultant for Thompson’s first 90 days to smoothen the transition between system presidents.