Michael Fitts, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, has been named Tulane’s 15th president, members of a search committee announced Tuesday.

Fitts will replace outgoing president Scott Cowen, who is scheduled to step down in July after leading the university for 16 years.

A law school dean since 2000, Fitts graduated from Harvard in 1975 and earned his law degree from Yale in 1979. He worked as a clerk at the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia for two years, then spent another four years with the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Justice Department, according to his curriculum vitae, published on the law school’s website.

Fitts spent 15 years as a law professor before becoming Penn Law’s dean.

Tuesday’s announcement caps an eight-month search process that was launched in the summer after Cowen announced he would step down.

Fitts’ hiring was approved by Tulane’s board Tuesday afternoon, and announced at a press conference at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life. Darryl Berger, chairman of Tulane’s board of administrators, and Rick Rees and Andy Wisdom, co-chairs of the 15-member search committee, said there were 75 names submitted in the search.

“I love Tulane and what it stands for,” Fitts said at the news conference. “I want to learn about your vision for making Tulane an even greater university.”