United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor is coming to the University of Texas at San Antonio for a very personal speaking engagement on January 24. The first Hispanic woman to sit on the bench, the appearance will chronicle Sotomayor's journey from a New York City kid born to Puerto Rican parents to the highest court in the land.
Her father, a factory worker, died when Sotomayor was 9 years old, and she was subsequently raised by her mother who worked as a nurse. Sotomayor was not only the first person in her family to go to college, she went on to graduate summa cum laude from Princeton University before getting her law degree from Yale Law School.
“We are incredibly honored to host Justice Sotomayor on our campus,” says UTSA President Taylor Eighmy in a release. “As a first-generation college student herself, her appearance is an exceptional opportunity for our students to learn from someone who is helping shape the future arc of our country from her seat on the highest court in the land."
In 2009, Sotomayor was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, becoming only the third woman to hold the office. In her eight years as a member of the court, the justice has weighed in on such historic decisions as the allowing of corporations to donate unlimited funds to political campaigns, the upholding of the Affordable Care Act, and the legalization of same sex marriage.
During her appearance, Sotomayor will give a speech discussing her personal history, a journey she chronicled in her 2014 memoir, My Beloved World. She will also take time to answer questions from students.
"Many of our students here at UTSA are the first in their families to attend college, just like Justice Sotomayor,” says Lisa Buentello, director of the UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs, in a release. “Her visit provides a chance for students to hear from someone who came from modest socioeconomic circumstances and has reached the very top of her profession through hard work and determination."
The appearance will be from 10-11 am in the Retama Auditorium, and is open to all UTSA students, faculty, and staff. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis and doors will open at 9 am. Overflow viewing for the talk will be held in the UTSA Student Union.