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Stetson hosts Naturalization Ceremony for 11th year

Naturalization DayFor the 11th year, Stetson University will host the Naturalization Ceremony in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, when 50 immigrants from 27 countries will take the oath of citizenship to the United States. This year’s ceremony will take place at 12 p.m., Monday, Sept. 21, in Lee Chapel inside Elizabeth Hall, 421 N. Woodland Blvd., on Stetson’s DeLand campus. A reception will immediately follow in the Palm Court. The special event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony will include special music presentations by members of Stetson University’s School of Music. Stetson’s Army ROTC Color Guard will present the Colors. Professor of Political Science T. Wayne Bailey, Ph.D., will congratulate the new U.S. citizens. A video presentation with a message from President Barack Obama will be shown.

“The Naturalization Ceremony represents the founding principles of our country – a government formed by people seeking freedom,” said Kevin Winchell ‘07, assistant director of Stetson’s Center for Community Engagement, who is in charge of the voter registration going on simultaneously on Stetson’s campus.

“These new American citizens are actively seeking better lives for themselves and their families,” said Winchell. “They have overcome many challenges in order to become citizens, and their hard work ensures that they will take seriously their newfound rights and responsibilities – a notion that inspires us to continue our work of increasing student political engagement.”

“It’s probably the most moving experience that any celebration of Stetson brings forth,” said Bailey, the original organizer of this event at Stetson University in 1997. “You look into their eyes, and you see how much joy and pride they feel in taking this oath to become new citizens. Many times, we Americans take citizenship for granted, and our pride and dedication do not match this group of newly minted American citizens. Most of them have been through a long process of at least five years.”

by David Baker and staff

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