Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sotomayor '76 the RA and "den mother"

In Wednesday's Detroit Free Press, an article on Sonia Sotomayor '76 the "den mother" from Freep columnist Brian Dickerson '79, a Zee of Sotomayor's during his first and her last years at the University.

Though Dickerson says Sotomayor could be "occassionally impatient" or exhibit "exasperation" when kids in her RA group interrupted her studies, the column is fairly positive. Choice excerpts:

Sonia Sotomayor lived across the hall from me during what was, up to that point, the most momentous year of my young life. As a residential adviser at Princeton University, she was assigned to shepherd me and a dozen or so other 17- and 18-year-olds through our freshman year.

Whatever intimidation I experienced as a public school kid from a blue-collar family must have been trebled for Sotomayor, who had the distinction of being both Hispanic and female on a campus that boasted precious few of either. Hers was just the seventh Princeton graduating class to include women.

Confident, somewhat zaftig and relentlessly cheerful, Sotomayor was living proof that one could shatter the male, patrician archetype with which Princeton was still associated in the Vietnam era and excel in the university's high-pressure academic environment. Her designation as a residential adviser represented the university's confidence in her as a responsible role model for freshmen of both genders.