MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System regents’ leader has picked Republican darling Tommy Thompson as the system’s interim president, delivering another twist in what has become a messy search to replace outgoing President Ray Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.
Regents President Andrew Petersen asked Thompson, the state’s only four-term governor, to jump into the position, according to a system statement. Petersen has the power to unilaterally appoint interim presidents. He announced his choice to the full board of regents Thursday; the statement said Petersen received “uniform” support from the board.
“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 in the statement. “No other institution in the state can do more to improve lives, communities, and Wisconsin’s economy.”
He’s a fantastic cheerleader who might be able to help unify some of the factions. He’s also a big government spender, so it will probably take someone else to shepherd the necessary budget contraction.