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Ted Ruger extends tenure as Law School Dean through 2023

April 08, 2021

The University announced that Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, has agreed to extend his tenure as Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School until June 30, 2023. The news comes just as the Law School climbed a full position up to #6 on the US News 2022 “Best Law Schools” list.

Dean Ruger’s accomplishments since his tenure started in 2015 have been many. Within the last two years alone, his leadership in stewarding two of the top 10 gifts to law schools in history, the historic $125 million gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation as well as the $50 million gift from the Robert and Jane Toll Foundation to dramatically expand the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program, has put the Law School in a position to continue its upward trajectory.

Access, Opportunity and Pathways to Public Service

Under Ruger, overall financial aid has increased 58% since 2015, while in 2020-21 per capita costs of a University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School education dropped for the first time in at least a decade.

On average, student debt is rising at a slower rate than tuition, indicating that the Law School’s financial aid program is contributing to bending the overall cost curve of our law degree down, which in turn expands the access of a premier legal education to even more students in the form of merit- and need-based financial aid. Post-graduate debt relief has been increasingly supported through the Toll Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which has paid out $3.6 million since 2015.

Since 2015, minority representation among incoming 1Ls has increased from 34% to 43%, with women now making up 50% of incoming classes. And as diversity and access have increased, so has the strength of new students, with median LSAT scores increasing to 170.

In February, the Law School established the Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander Scholarships, three new scholarships for incoming Fall 2021 students whose education, experience, and professional commitments advance racial justice and honor the work and legacy of Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander L’27, the first Black woman to graduate from the Law School.

The transformative $50 million gift from the Toll Foundation has created a significant opportunity for the institution to continue to expand its commitment to educate, train and launch more careers in public service that directly impact our communities.

The number of Toll Public Interest Scholars entering the Class of 2024 and in future years, as well as the total number of Toll Public Interest Fellows, will double under Ruger’s leadership. And between 2021 and 2025, financial aid support for students headed into public interest careers will also double.

Supporting Transformative Thinkers

Ruger has also been instrumental in recruiting world-class faculty, providing a foundation for more bold moves in the future. Since 2015, the Law School has hired 11 new faculty members across substantive practice areas, both traditional and cutting edge, adding renowned interdisciplinary scholars, including three distinguished Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professors and one Presidential Assistant Professor. Women faculty members have increased to over 40% of the standing faculty, up from 25% in 2015, and minority representation on the standing faculty has also increased.

Additionally, Ruger has supported Law faculty scholarship by overseeing a 170% increase in media hits about faculty and their scholarship overall. And in fall 2019, the Law School launched the Future of the Profession Initiative to advance its mission of educating the next generation of lawyers and catalyzing change throughout the profession.

With a focus on innovation in legal education and an emphasis on profession-wide thought leadership, the Initiative will lead conversations about the future as technology continues to accelerate major changes in the legal landscape, supporting the Dean’s commitment to provide lifelong learning opportunities to alumni while generating a dynamic, holistic vision for legal education.

In a year in which educational institutions across the country have grappled with the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has thrived under Dean Ruger’s leadership – offering in-person teaching throughout the 2020-21 academic year – and is poised to continue its decade of growth with this extended tenure.

“We are confident that, with Ted’s continued leadership as Dean, the Law School will continue to play a key role in securing rights, protecting democratic norms and institutions, advancing justice, and strengthening our society,” noted Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett in the joint statement sent to the Penn community. “We know you will join with us in thanking him for his excellent leadership and continued service to our University and our law school.”