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Supreme Court Nominee 'A Daughter of the Bronx'

Sonia Sotomayor with Lehman Staff
Judge Sotomayor (far right) in the processional leading to the 1999 Commencement ceremony.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama, delivered the Commencement address to the Lehman Class of 1999 and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree "for using her keen analytical ability and love of the law to help advance the public good."

President Fernandez, Sonia Sotomayor, and Fred Phelps
Judge Sotomayor accepts the honorary degree from President Fernández (left). To her right is Psychology Professor Fred Phelps, chair of the Honorary Degree Committee.

In her address, Judge Sotomayor described herself as "a daughter of the Bronx" and urged the members of the Lehman graduating class to become active citizens. She spoke at length about her mother, who was raised in Puerto Rico, joined the U.S. Army, earned her degree at Hostos Community College, and worked for many years as a nurse at Prospect Hospital. "Do not forget your backgrounds and the cultures that you come from," she urged. "Don't forget the struggles and hardships of your parents and grandparents. Teach your children about their heritage. Tell them of your sacrifices."

Sonia Sotomayor
Addressing the graduates.

Read her address in full.