The UW Board of Regents will choose between a Milwaukee law firm leader and one of its own chancellors to be the next president of the University of Wisconsin System.

Jay Rothman, chair and CEO of Foley & Lardner, and UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt were announced Friday as the finalists for the job leading the state’s public university system, its more than 160,000 students, 39,000 employees, 26 campuses and $6.6 billion budget.

Rothman and Schmidt offer two very different backgrounds. One has spent his career in the private sector, while the other has worked almost exclusively in higher education administration.

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