President, Tulane University
Michael A. Fitts is the 15th President of Tulane University. President Fitts previously served as dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. A native of Philadelphia, Fitts earned a bachelor of arts from Harvard University in 1975. Inspired by the film To Kill a Mockingbird and its heroic protagonist, attorney Atticus Finch, Fitts enrolled in law school at Yale University. He became an editor of the Yale Law Journal and earned his juris doctor in 1979. Fitts began teaching at Penn in 1985 after serving as a clerk for civil rights advocate Judge Leon Higginbotham and as an attorney in the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. He was named law dean at Penn in 2000.
Under Fitts' deanship, Penn Law became a national leader in cross-disciplinary legal education, with 35 degree and certificate programs offered in partnership with other divisions of Penn, including its business and medical schools. He also increased the law school's endowment by more than 300 percent, grew the number of law faculty by 40 percent and doubled all forms of student financial aid. Further, he created partnerships with institutions from Bangalore to Beijing and expanded public service opportunities for students and graduates.
Fitts has also written extensively on administrative law, presidential power, the separation of powers, improving the structure of political parties and executive branch decision-making. In 2013, the University of Pennsylvania Law School's Board of Overseers announced a gift of $4.2 million to establish the Michael A. Fitts Distinguished Professor of Law, an endowed faculty chair named in his honor.