Theodore Ruger Named Dean of Penn Law School

Theodore Ruger has been named dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, effective July 1. Ruger has served as a member of the faculty for more than a decade and the school’s deputy dean since 2013.  The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price.

“Ted is a superb scholar and teacher of constitutional law and health law,” Gutmann said. “He is also a proven leader with a deep commitment to Penn Law’s distinctive multi-disciplinary mission. He has a passion for helping students succeed and is someone who will work collaboratively with the faculty to ensure that Penn Law continues to stand as one of America’s preeminent law schools.” 

At Penn, Ruger has taught a wide range of classes in constitutional law, health law and regulation, legislation and food and drug law and policy. He has also served in a variety of critical roles in the school, including three terms as a member of the faculty appointments committee, one as chair and another as co-chair.  He was a co-author of the Law School’s diversity action plan and is currently serving as the Law School’s diversity action officer.  He also served as an advisor to the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to be the next dean of Penn Law,” said Ruger. “Penn Law is a unique community of talented and committed faculty, staff, students and alumni. Penn Law today is as strong as it has ever been and no law school in the country is better poised to thrive in the years ahead. I look forward to working with all members of the Penn Law community, and with colleagues across the University and in the profession, to build on our strengths and reach new levels of success.”    

Before joining Penn Law, Ruger served for three years as an associate professor in the Washington University School of Law in his hometown of St. Louis. He has practiced law with Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and with Ropes & Gray in Boston and was a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and to United States Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boudin. 

Ruger is a highly respected scholar who has applied the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences to novel legal questions. His work has been published in many of the nation’s most highly regarded law journals and other influential volumes. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School where he received the Sears Prize and was president of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Williams College. Ruger and his wife, Jennifer Prah Ruger, an associate professor of medical ethics and health policy in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, have three children.

“Ted Ruger has an exceptional track record as a scholar, teacher and administrator,” Price said. “He also has a clear sense of Penn Law’s distinctive culture and strengths. We are looking forward to working with him as he collaborates with faculty, staff, students and alumni to build on this incredibly strong foundation and leads Penn Law to the pinnacle of American law schools.”

The selection of Ted Ruger as the next dean of Penn Law concludes a comprehensive search to find a successor to Michael A. Fitts, who served with distinction for 14 years before assuming the presidency of Tulane University in 2014. Under Fitts’ leadership, the Law School’s faculty and student body grew more interdisciplinary, eminent and diverse, and the school’s facilities grew more beautiful and modern than ever.

“We express our deepest appreciation to Wendell Pritchett for his absolutely outstanding service as interim dean of Penn Law,” Gutmann said.



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