Tommy Thompson thanked university staff and students for their help in an emotional final speech to the Board of Regents as UW System president, reflecting on the challenges and successes of his tenure.

The former Republican guv will pass the role of System president to interim president Mike Falbo on March 18 until Foley and Lardner LLP CEO Jay Rothman takes the helm on June 1.

“When I was governor, I didn’t think you were all that great,” Thompson jokingly told regents. “But now that I’ve worked with you, I greatly appreciate this opportunity to work alongside you.”

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