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Former governor Tommy Thompson named interim UW System president

 In this March 18, 2016 photo, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson addresses the crowd at a town hall meeting at the River Steel plant in West Salem, Wis.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
In this March 18, 2016 photo, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson addresses the crowd at a town hall meeting at the River Steel plant in West Salem, Wis. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (NBC15)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 9:31 AM CDT
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Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson has been appointed to serve as Interim President of the University of Wisconsin System.

Thompson, 78, will take over duties on July 1.

"The decision comes after consultation Thursday with the Board of Regents, which offered uniform support," reads a statement from the UW System.

“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.”

Thompson is a UW-Madison alum. He was elected the Republican governor of Wisconsin in 1986 and won four terms. Thompson remains the longest-serving governor in the state's history.

Thompson served as Health and Human Services secretary under George W. Bush.

Thompson will be paid an annual salary of $489,334. That is the minimum salary under board policy. The board says this decision was made at Thompson's request.

The Board of Regents will not start up a search for a permanent president for "at least a year."

Outgoing President Ray Cross will serve as a consultant for 90 days after he leave the office on June 30. This is to help with the transition.

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