The University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents selected Jay O. Rothman to become the next president of the University of Wisconsin system on Friday.
Rothman, age 62, is an attorney from the Milwaukee area, where he has served as the CEO and chairman of the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP since 2011 after initially joining the firm in 1986. Rothman is a Wisconsin native and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Marquette and a law degree from Harvard law school.
“Jay is a servant leader who has chosen to dedicate the remainder of his outstanding career to our students, our faculty and staff and our taxpayers,” said Karen Walsh, regent vice president and chair of the Search and Screen Committee. “He understands organizations. He builds consensus. He believes in the profound value of higher education.”
Rothman is scheduled to begin his role as president of the UW system as of June 1, succeeding former interim president Tommy Tompson who is scheduled to vacate the role in March 2022. Rothman will be the eighth person to serve in the role of president of the UW system and will receive a salary of $550,000 annually.
The UW System educates more than 150,000 students across 13 universities and at 26 different campuses. The system provides services to approximately 1 million Wisconsin residents through statewide outreach programs, and employs about 39,000 faculty. The estimated annual economic impact of the UW System is upwards of $24 billion.
In a public statement, Rothman expressed his excitement to fulfill the role of president and stated that he hopes to improve Wisconsin public universities during his time in the position.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the UW System and approach this role with profound respect for the unparalleled role public higher education plays in the lives of our students, alumni and communities,” Rothman said. “I intend to lead by listening first, so that the experience I have gained over my lifetime in Wisconsin can help us build a great UW System together. This is not an original sentiment, but I want to say it because I believe it: the UW System is our state’s crown jewel, and a vibrant UW System builds a strong Wisconsin.”
Several regents of the UW system have since stated publicly that they believe Rothman will act as an exceptional president of the UW system due to his strong interpersonal and leadership skills.
“The regents appreciate Jay’s willingness to serve the UW System and the people of Wisconsin,” said Regent President Edmund Manydeeds III, chair of the Special Regent Committee. “I am confident that in partnership with our chancellors, faculty and staff he will strengthen the UW System for the students and people of Wisconsin we serve.”