UW System Board of Regents Selects Jay Rothman as next System President

Jay O. Rothman will take office as the next University of Wisconsin System President after a unanimous Board of Regents vote on Friday to offer him the position.

Rothman will be UW System’s eighth president, succeeding current interim President Tommy Thompson, who has been in that role since July 1, 2020. Thompson has announced that he will step down on March 18.

Rothman has been chairman and CEO of Foley & Lardner since 2011 and has been a member of the firm’s Management Committee since February 2002. He joined Foley in 1986 and has been a partner since 1994. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Rothman was raised on a small operating farm outside of Wausau where his family raised beef cattle and horses. His parents attended UW-Stevens Point, with his mother receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there. His mother is a retired schoolteacher, and his father was a dentist. He has two adult children. His daughter is a graduate of UW-Madison.

A 1971 state law unified two public university systems under a single Board of Regents. The UW System educates approximately 165,000 students at 13 universities across 26 campuses, serves more than 1 million Wisconsin residents through statewide outreach programs, and employs about 39,000 faculty and staff statewide.