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Being Bold: Dean Michael A. Fitts

December 12, 2013

In a time of significant change for legal academies and the profession, the University of Pennsylvania Law School completed a record-breaking capital campaign, raising over $200 million. Dean Michael Fitts thanks Penn Law friends, alumni, and donors who made the Bold Ambitions campaign an incredible success. 




Hi, I’m Mike Fitts. It has been a privilege to be Penn Law’s Dean over the course of the Bold Ambitions campaign. I have never been prouder of any achievement than what we accomplished together.

We completed the campaign last year, but its impact will be felt for decades to come. Your support solidified Penn’s leadership among the nation’s law schools.

As a direct result of the campaign:

  • Our faculty increased by 40 percent. Much of the expansion occurred in substantive and emerging areas of the law like Intellectual Property, Health Law and Corporate Law.
  • Financial aid increased more than 100 percent. We established more than 70 named scholarships including the Levy Scholars program for exceptional students committed to interdisciplinary study.
  • Our cross-disciplinary programs grew by leaps and bounds. The Law School now offers more than 35 joint degree and certificate programs. Almost 80 percent of our JD students will graduate with a joint degree or certificate from another school or department at Penn. 
  • We expanded our global presence through the creation of new fellowships and partnerships with leading law schools around the world.  Every year some 100 students work, volunteer, study or conduct research abroad. 
  • The Law School deepened its commitment to public service with an expansion of the Toll Public Interest Center.  Students pursing public interest careers benefit from 100 percent more funds available for loan forgiveness and public interest fellowships.  More students are doing more public service:  the class of 2013 volunteered 30,000 hours of service; MORE THAN 90 percent of students exceeded the pro bono requirement. 
  • Our graduates have been more successful in practice than all of our peer schools.  The National Law Journal has ranked Penn Law #1 in placement at the AmLaw top 250 law firms in each of the past two years.  
  • And finally, the Law School campus benefited from a total makeover including the opening of Golkin Hall, a 40,000-square-foot building with more space for faculty, staff and academic programs, all designed to foster the collegiality that sets our law school apart.

It is almost incomprehensible that we raised more than $200 million. To do so during hard economic times makes the achievement even more incredible. My deepest thanks to all of you who helped achieve this goal.  On behalf of Penn Law students, faculty and staff, you have my eternal gratitude.  

Transcript has been edited for length.

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