WISCONSIN – The acting chairman of the University of Wisconsin system, Tommy Thompson, handed over his resignation letter to chairman of the board, Edmund Manydeeds III on Thursday.
Thompson will be leaving the school system on March 18, he said in a letter. The acting president said the Board of Regents will identify a candidate to succeed him.
A regent committee will meet at 12 noon on Friday to select finalists and discuss interview strategies for the next system president, according to a school system agenda.
Manydeeds said Thompson was “the right person at the right time” as he replaced former President Ray Cross in July 2020 as the school system faced financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his letter, Thompson, who is a former governor of Wisconsin, touted some achievements, such as opening universities’ COVID-19 testing capacity to the public.
The acting president announced the school system’s “70 for 70” campaign to achieve vaccination rates of up to 70% on all college campuses in the state in exchange for scholarships for students. As of October 27, 2021, 12 of the 13 universities in the school system have reported COVID-19 vaccination rates above 70%.
Thompson has also dealt with Republican lawmakers who have said they want to bring a lawsuit and take control of the school system’s virus-mitigation policies. He said his responsibility was to “campuses, faculty, staff and students.”