Milwaukee law firm CEO named new president of UW system

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Jay Rothman, CEO and chairman of Milwaukee-based law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, will serve as the eighth president of the University of Wisconsin system.

Friday’s decision by the UW board of trustees ends an 18-month chapter in which the state’s public university system lacked a permanent leader.

Rothman will take the helm from Mike Falbo, a former regent president, who will serve as interim president between the March 18 departure of former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who served as the system’s interim president for 18 months, and the start date from Rothman of 1 June.

Rothman will earn $550,000 a year.

The other runner up for the job was Jim Schmidt, the chancellor of UW-Eau Claire.

Rothman has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Foley and Lardner LLP since 2011. He joined the firm in 1986. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

The Capitol is seen from Van Hise Hall, which houses the administrative headquarters of the UW system.

Schmidt has served as Chancellor of UW-Eau Claire since July 2013. Prior to that, he served as Vice President for University Advancement at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, and Vice President for Student Affairs at Riverland Community College. in Austin, Minnesota.

Rothman was selected from a pool of 44 applicants for the position, 23 of whom identified as white, 11 as people of color and 10 who did not identify their racial background, according to the UW system. Seven of the candidates were women and three were veterans.

This story is growing and will be updated.

Contact Devi Shastri at 414-224-2193 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @DeviShastri.

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