Theodore Ruger, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School since 2004, has been appointed dean of the law school, effective July 1.

Ruger, 46, who teaches constitutional law and health-related law and regulation, succeeds Michael A. Fitts, who left in July to become president of Tulane University.

Wendell Pritchett has been interim dean and will continue as a professor on the faculties of the law school and the Graduate School of Education.

Pritchett, 50, taught at Penn Law from 2001 to 2009, when he left to become chancellor of Rutgers-Camden. He left Rutgers-Camden in July to return to the law school.

Ruger, a graduate of Harvard Law School, had been the Penn Law School's deputy dean since 2013.

"Ted is a superb scholar and teacher of constitutional law and health law," Penn president Amy Gutmann said in announcing the appointment. "He is also a proven leader with a deep commitment to Penn Law's distinctive multidisciplinary 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."

Ruger has served on the faculty appointments committee and as coauthor of the law school's diversity action plan, and is currently the law school's diversity action officer. He also has been an adviser on Penn Law Review.

"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," Ruger said. "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 coming to Penn, Ruger was an associate professor for three years at Washington University Law School in St. Louis, his hometown. He practiced at two firms, Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and Ropes & Gray in Boston, and was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boudin.

Ruger was selected, after a search, to succeed Fitts, 61, who had been the law school's dean for 14 years. Fitts spent much of his tenure expanding the law school's interdisciplinary programs, enabling law students to attend Wharton, the engineering school, or many other programs at the university, and earn joint degrees or certificates in subjects other than law.