Before Sonia Sotomayor LAW ’79 was nominated to the Supreme Court, she was a student at Princeton — and a classmate of Yale College Dean Mary Miller.
Along with four other students, Sotomayor and Miller served on a student search committee for a new assistant dean of student affairs. Frustrated with the process, the group wrote a letter to the editor in the September 12, 1974, issue of The Daily Princetonian.
In the letter, which can be read in full here, the students criticized the search’s focus on selecting a minority candidate and the vague role of the student committee. While Miller is white and Sotomayor is Latina, both were chosen because they are women, at a time when Princeton was largely male.
In an interview, Miller said that she remembers little about crafting that text 35 years ago. To her, she said, the details of the letter and process are not as interesting as what they revealed about Sotomayor.
“The judge was interested in process, even then,” Miller said. “I have only positive memories of a dedicated and serious young woman who was committed to getting things done.”
Though the two graduated a year apart — Miller in 1975, Sotomayor in 1976 — Miller said she ran into Sotomayor several times while at Yale and has been following her career with interest.