Lone UW president finalist withdraws from consideration

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FILE – In this July 30, 2019, file photo, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen speaks at a UA Board of Regents meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. Johnsen was announced Tuesday, June 2, 2020, as the sole finalist for the University of Wisconsin System president opening. (AP Photo/Dan Joling, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The lone finalist for the University of Wisconsin System’s president job has withdrawn his name from consideration.

University of Alaska System President Jim Johnsen was the only finalist to emerge from a months-long search. Other would-be finalists withdrew from the running because they feared if they were identified they would lose their ability to fight COVID-19 in their current positions.

Related: UW-Oshkosh preparing to welcome students back

The University of Alaska System issued a statement Friday saying Johnsen had withdrawn from consideration and quoting him as saying he feels he’s called to lead the system in Alaska. 

UW System Regent President Andrew Petersen released the following statement:

“It’s disappointing, a dark day for the UW System. Dr. Johnsen is a fine person who conducted himself with professionalism and honor throughout the process, during which he was unanimously identified by the search committee as the best candidate for our system. We will work to identify and get through our immediate financial and operational challenges with the pandemic, then deliberate on the next steps to conduct a new search when there is a better opportunity.”

WFRV Local 5 contributed to this story.

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