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UW-Eau Claire chancellor among finalists to become UW System president

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James C. Schmidt

MADISON (WQOW) - Among the finalists for the job of UW System President is UW-Eau Claire chancellor James C. Schmidt. 

The other candidate for the job is Jay O. Rothman, who is the chairman and CEO of a law firm in Milwaukee. 

“We have identified two excellent candidates, each of whom would be an outstanding leader for our university system,” said UW System Regent President Edmund Manydeeds III. “We believe their qualifications and experience provide the committee a great opportunity to pick a future leader for the UW System.”

Schmidt has been chancellor at UWEC since 2013, after working in the administration of other universities in Minnesota. 

"The decision to apply for the presidency is not one that I made lightly," Schmidt said in a statement sent to News 18. "The past eight and a half years at UW-Eau Claire have been the most rewarding of my career and I know that we have many more opportunities for our university in the years to come. At the same time, I know that higher education in Wisconsin is at a crossroads. If we are to serve our students and our state more effectively, we need to re-envision what our statewide System can and should be. I would like to be part of those changes. Regardless of the final decision, the future of UW-Eau Claire will remain close to my heart."

The UW System has been searching for a new president since 2020. Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson filled the role on an interim basis, but recently announced he would be stepping down in March. 

A decision is expected from the Board of Regents by the end of January. 

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