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More than 100 candidates became citizens of the United States of America Friday in the Toretti Auditorium of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
The auditorium was filled with people of all ages from small children to the gray-haired as the national anthem played.
The ceremony, conducted by the Pittsburgh U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office in Pittsburgh, naturalized candidates from countries such as Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, India, Turkey and more.
The event was included in IUP’s celebration of International Education week.
Pauline Wells of IUP’s Office of International Education said the naturalization ceremony “has become a meaningful event in International Education Week.”
“We have a great relationship with the staff at the Pittsburgh USCIS Field Office, and we look forward to hosting future ceremonies,” Wells said.
IUP President Michael Driscoll provided opening remarks at the ceremony conducted by the USCIS’s Pittsburgh field office.
“You are one of us,” Driscoll said during the ceremony’s opening remarks. “It’s important that you exercise your rights with some joy and dedication. Vote, reach out, express your opinions. Be a part of the incredible dialogue that makes this nation the great place that it is.
“Share your opinions civilly and professionally. Share with us the experience you have as we work together to continue to make this a great country.”
Driscoll encouraged all those naturalized to “bring those amazing things from your heritage to this great country.”
Also naturalized in the ceremony was IUP professor Dr. Hussam Al-Shammari of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. An IUP professor since 2006, Al-Shammari gave closing remarks in the ceremony.
Candidates in the ceremony were called by their former countries and asked to stand.
Once standing, all candidates to be naturalized raised their right hands and took an oath denouncing their allegiance to their former countries and took an oath to support America, “defend the Constitution of laws in the United States” and pledge allegiance to the nation.
This is the third time IUP has hosted the naturalization ceremony, according to Michelle Fryling, director of IUP’s Office of Media Relations.
JoAnn Kazimer, immigration services officer, and Valerie Tobias, director of the USCIS Pittsburgh field office facilitated the ceremony.