Thompson shares wisdom with students as he steps down as UW-System president

Tommy Thompson steps down as UW president Friday
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 7:16 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Tommy Thompson will step down as UW system president on Friday. He took over in 2020 during the pandemic. Before his departure, he chose to share his wisdom as UW-system president and the longest-serving governor in Wisconsin history to UWSP students.

Tommy Thompson added a new role to his resume on Tuesday: college lecturer. He told students he hopes they all decide to run for office and serve their communities.

Students had the chance to ask about his political and personal life. He explained his family was poor when he was their age just beginning his college career.

“We didn’t, couldn’t afford a suitcase so I moved in an apartment with three guys with all my clothes and a paper bag and everybody laughed at me,” said Thompson.

UWSP freshman Jordan Shamion was in the class. She said he inspired her.

“It just shows that you can be successful if you just follow your heart,” said Shamion.

Shamion said reading about history and politics doesn’t compare to talking to someone like the former governor.

“It was pretty surreal to have him in this class because we do a lot of talk about politics and higher-ups in the government and to have a real-life person actually talking to you, helps like see this is real,” said Shamion.

UWSP’s chancellor said most of the students were lining up to talk to Thompson.

“He’s a legend, not only in state politics but because he is so relational and so magnetic. He just draws everyone closer to him. And certainly, that’s the case for students,” said Thomas Gibson, UWSP Chancellor.

Chancellor Gibson said even though Thompson is stepping down as UW-system president on Friday, it won’t be the end of his support for UWSP.

“He wants to see each and every student succeed. So I am certain he will continue to be a strong partner in advocating for student success in the state,” said Chancellor Gibson.

Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.