MADISON, WIS — A long and tumultuous search for the UW System’s next president may soon be coming to a close as reports detailing the search committee’s new set of finalists have emerged. Among the names was La Crosse Times contributing reporter, forensic expert, archaeologist, and clinical researcher Dr. Jonathon H. Dong.
Dr. Dong has a long and storied international career spanning multiple universities, research institutes, clown troupes, and Lithuanian prisons. An enigmatic figure, Dong is an in-demand lecturer and respected scientist known for his eccentric research interests and groundbreaking insights.
“I’ve never met or even seen anyone quite like him,” said Sam Shilts, editor-in-chief of The La Crosse Times. “The first time we met, he just stared at me for five minutes before snapping out of it and telling me my own life story. It was surreal.”
Shilts says Dong’s voracious appetite for news and research make him a great candidate, one who will be able to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.
“We’ll certainly miss him if he leaves. Maybe not so much his constant smoking, pet alpaca, and bag-tar playing, but we’ll miss him,” said Shilts.
A bag-tar is a combination of bagpipes and a sitar, a musical instrument which Dong himself created, one of his many accomplishments.
Dong also has a laundry list of other accolades. He was the 2018 recipient of the Dick M. Schlepp Award for Regurgitory Studies, the 2016 recipient of the Elliot E. Sackwrinkle Award for Doing Science Good, and the 2011 recipient of the Lithuanian State Prison Award for Most Improved Behavior.
Dong was also awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship B.F.D. National Research Grant five years running, an effort he used to shed light on testicular humidity, which many believe resulted in a dramatic reduction of capri pants for men.
Former governor Tommy Thompson is currently serving as interim president of the UW System. A decision on the next full-term president is expected this spring.
Reporter Greg Lovell contributed to this article.