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From the President and Provost: Extending Tenure of Law Dean

October 26, 2010, Volume 57, No. 09

We are pleased to announce that Professor Michael Fitts has agreed to extend his term as Dean of the Law School until June 30, 2015. 

Mike will complete his second term as Dean on June 30, 2012. We have consulted with the entire Law School faculty, deans, senior officers of the University, the chairs of the Faculty Senate, Board of Trustees chair David L. Cohen and Law Board of Overseers chair Paul Haaga. They are unanimous in their praise for Mike’s accomplishments as Dean, and they join us in enthusiastically supporting the extension of his second term for an additional three years.

The respect and admiration for Mike’s leadership is striking and underscores his many accomplishments as Dean of Penn Law for the past 10 years. Mike has given the Law School a clearer sense of mission; cultivated support for that mission from all of the School’s important constituencies; structured the School to fulfill its vision; and worked tirelessly to realize it.   Above all, while increasing the size of the faculty by more than 40 percent, he has fostered a highly collegial and cohesive community within the School, which has become a major factor in attracting and retaining the very best faculty and students.

Under Mike’s leadership, the Law School has deepened its distinctive international and interdisciplinary strengths, realizing major goals of the Penn Compact. Taking advantage of Penn’s unique competitive advantages and integrative ethos, the School has created cross-disciplinary programs that are unrivaled among the leading law schools. Penn Law has become a magnet for exceptional students who are especially attracted by the many opportunities to enhance their legal education with dual-degrees, certificates, and study with faculty across the University. Applications have almost doubled; the diversity and geographic distribution of the student body have greatly increased; job placements have vastly improved; and the School consistently ranks among the top law schools in America.

Mike has been an indefatigable fundraiser, increasing the School’s endowment 250 percent, more than doubling its annual donations, and building stronger ties with the School’s alumni, donor and professional constituencies. During his second term he has continued to raise the funds needed to modernize the School’s physical plant, including the current construction of Golkin Hall, which is now rising along Sansom Street. Extending Mike’s term for an additional three years will maintain the School’s momentum, through and beyond the closing of the campaign.

We are confident that Michael Fitts will continue to lead Penn Law to new heights. We look forward to working with him in the years ahead to ensure that Penn Law continues to thrive as an ever more eminent institution.

—Amy Gutmann, President
—Vincent Price, Provost

Almanac - October 26, 2010, Volume 57, No. 09