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Penn Law Dean Leaving to Become President of Tulane

The dean of Penn Law has been named the president of Tulane University, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon as Michael Fitts will assume his new position on July 1.

Fitts has worked as a professor at Penn Law since 1985 after earning an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Yale University. He spent 14 years as the dean of the law school.

Penn is now searching for five deans and an Athletic Director.

“This is a bittersweet moment for all of us at Penn,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a memo. “We are going to miss him greatly.”



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Under Fitts’ leadership, the faculty increased in size by 40 percent at the law school and it became more of a unified team.

Fitts also led the Penn Law’s Bold Ambitions campaign, raising more than $200 million. He oversaw multiple building renovations at the law school and the completion of Golkin Hall in January of 2012.

“I have not done a lot of fundraising,” Fitts said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian following his appointment as dean in 2000. “But I have a great product to sell — an excellent law school with a lot of opportunities.”

Law professor Kermit Roosevelt said, “I remember hearing that there was a judge Dean Fitts wanted to encourage to interview Penn Law students for clerkships. Knowing the judge was a former wrestler, Dean Fitts offered to wrestle him. Perhaps it was perceived more as a threat — in any case, the judge did interview Penn students and hired some.”

“Mike Fitts has been an absolutely superb dean of the Law School who has dramatically improved every aspect of legal education at Penn,” law professor Louis Rulli said. “He will be sorely missed.”

Scott Cowen, the current president of Tulane, announced that he would step down from his post last spring. Cowen has been at Tulane since 1998.

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