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Collaborative Campus

BOLD AMBITIONS completed a decade-long transformation of our campus. One of the nation’s finest law school campuses is now fully integrated and spatially diverse, and, like today’s legal profession, both interconnected and dynamic. 



Naming a professorship or space after a dean is a time-honored tradition but usually comes at retirement. Paul Haaga Jr. L’74, WG’74 and his wife, Heather, and Richard Schifter L’78 and his wife, Jennifer, were not about to wait that long to pay tribute to Dean Michael Fitts and his leadership in Penn Law’s most important period of growth. “Mike Fitts has been so active and influential, and so connected to our community. He develops his vision by listening,” says Haaga. During Golkin Hall’s construction, Haaga and Schifter found the perfect naming opportunity: the 350-seat auditorium, the first space large enough to accommodate an entire class. Here, world-renowned speakers deliver lectures, and as a central venue, the auditorium’s name will be in common use for decades to come. “We wanted people to say and repeat ‘Michael A. Fitts Auditorium’ every day we’re in session.”  


Penn Law is like no other law campus. Just one square block, it uses an innovative mixed-use approach to space that both supports and shapes the Law School’s collaborative culture. The Campaign allowed Penn Law to update and adapt the central courtyard, the second floor and lower level of Silverman Hall, and first-floor offices nestled around the Clock Lounge. The masterstroke is Golkin Hall, a modern, light-infused structure with green components, which adds 40,000 square feet of smartly designed, seamlessly integrated spaces. R. Polk Wagner chaired the Faculty Building Committee. “There are many things to like: seminar rooms and flexible office spaces, the airy, open feel of decks, terraces, and light cascading down wells,” he says. “Golkin’s collaborative zones are especially useful. By bridging routes students and faculty take, they create impromptu meeting spaces.” Every floor makes sense. The lower level anchors the building with student spaces, the Fitts Auditorium, and the Kline & Specter Courtroom. The ground floor bustles with foot traffic through the Haaga Goat Lounge. The second floor inspires a new approach to faculty collaboration, with bridges to second-floor faculty offices in Silverman and Gittis, where the connector is a sanctuary-like green roof. A third-floor terrace overlooks it all. Wagner adds, “We’ve forged a new aesthetic combining high-tech sensibilities with tradition.”

Being Bold Testimonial