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Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Coed Achieves Law School Honors

By Susie Marbey, Hurricane Features Editor

Sonny Pressman High On Q.P.

Sonny PressmanThis article was published in The Miami Hurricane (May 10, 1957), the University of Miami (FL) school newspaper.

It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind and for many years Sonia (Sonny) Pressman wavered back and forth while trying to decide what she really wanted to do. But uncertainty and indecision are in the past for Sonny who will be graduated next month from Law School with highest honors.

Slender, attractive and twentyish, Sonny recalls that most of her life she was either "running away from school or running headlong into it."

At the age of four Sonny ran away from the private school her parents sent her to in her native Berlin, Germany.

With the rise of Hitler, she and her family migrated to Belgium when she was five, and from there to New York.

When she was eight, Sonny came to Miami Beach with her family for a vacation. She remembers entering school here and quitting after the first month because it was "too hot."

When the family moved to Monticello, Mr. Pressman built a bungalow colony on 50 acres of land. By the time she was 10, Sonny was renting apartments and drawing up contracts.

Valedictorian of her senior class, she won a scholarship to Cornell, where she majored in languages her first year, then took up psychology.

At the conclusion of her third year she was accepted to Cornell graduate school where she majored in business and public administration. The only girl among 70 male students, she was first in her class.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, she landed her first job as secretary to the fashion advertising manager of "Today's Woman" magazine. She later worked on "Fishing Gazette" and "True Confessions," and did a stint as personnel assistant for Lane Bryant dress shop.

Once Sonny tried to collect unemployment insurance after she quit her job in a textile factory where she had been shifted to five different departments in five weeks time.

So convincing was her argument that the treatment she received while being shifted about was equal to her being fired that she was able to collect the insurance until she found her next job.

A job as switchboard operator at a garment factory was followed by one with a market research firm which she quit "because they never gave us time for lunch."

She also worked as secretary to the editor of "Collier's Encyclopedia," receptionist in a Long Beach hotel and assistant in the Executive Training Program of McCreery's Department Store. In between she started graduate work in sociology at New York University and took a special Radio-TV course at Columbia University.

At the end of four years, Sonny decided she was getting nowhere fast. She didn't like New York ("It made me feel anonymous -- it was too big.")

So she made up her mind to go to Law School here, a decision she never regretted. She terms women in Law School "pioneers, going along uncharted paths." But the time will come, she is convinced, when "women will be considered the equals of men."

Sonny has never known any school like UM's Law School, "which gives a person such opportunities to be active and to be of service to others."

She has made good use of these opportunities. Taking part in a long list of activities, she will leave Law School with a 2.88 average and head for Washington, D.C., where she has a job with the Justice Department in the Office of Alien Property.