The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College will present the 2015 Katharine Hepburn Medal to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, announced College President Kim Cassidy today at a ceremony marking the start of the academic year.
The medal will be awarded to Justice Sotomayor at a gala event in Bryn Mawr’s Goodhart Hall on April 17, 2015.
The Katharine Hepburn Medal recognizes women who change their worlds: those whose lives, work, and contributions embody the intelligence, drive, and independence of the four-time Oscar winner and her namesake mother, an early feminist activist. Award recipients are chosen on the basis of their commitment and contributions to the Hepburn women’s greatest passions—civic engagement and the arts.
“As the first Hispanic and third female Supreme Court justice, Justice Sotomayor is truly a trailblazer,” said Cassidy. “Her twenty-year commitment to the federal judiciary reveals her unwavering commitment both to public service and the importance of the legal system in our society and exemplifies the attributes deserving of the Hepburn Medal. Equally important, Justice Sotomayor’s many opinions from the bench, whether in the majority or expressing critical interests from a dissent, exhibit wisdom, an unflinching commitment to justice, and a fundamental dedication to real equality in our diverse society. In these and other ways, Justice Sotomayor truly embodies the Hepburn spirit.”
Justice Sotomayor was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and receiving the university’s highest academic honor. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979-1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984-1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992-1998. She served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from 1998-2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role on August 8, 2009.
The Katharine Hepburn Medal will be awarded at Bryn Mawr College on April 17, 2015. In addition to the ceremony, plans are underway for a special session with students. More information will be released when it becomes available.
The Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center memorializes Hepburn and her mother with programs focusing on the arts and theater and civic engagement. The Hepburn Center is the only organization authorized by the Hepburn estate to commemorate the lives and achievements of iconic screen legend Katharine Hepburn, Bryn Mawr class of 1928, and her mother Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Bryn Mawr class of 1900, who was an activist for reproductive rights and women’s suffrage.
Former Hepburn Medal recipients include the actresses Lauren Bacall and Blythe Danner, Jane Golden, executive director of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, Helene Gayle, president and chief executive officer of the international humanitarian organization CARE, and musician Patti Smith.
For more information on the Hepburn Center, as well as biographies of Katharine Hepburn and her mother, Katharine Houghton Hepburn, visit the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center website.