Naturalization ceremony held at DeVos Center

woman hands certificate to another woman on stage
Provost Maria Cimitile hands out certificates at the naturalization ceremony October 26 at the DeVos Center.
Image credit - Rachael Mooney
group of people standing taking an oath
The nation's newest citizens stand to take the oath of allegiance.
Image credit - Rachael Mooney
man with microphone talking to audience
Douglas Pierce, supervisory immigration services officer, addresses the audience.
Image credit - Rachael Mooney

Seventy-seven people brought 77 stories of their journeys to the U.S. to a naturalization ceremony held October 26 at the DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

The newest U.S. citizens represented 34 different countries. After they took the oath of citizenship, a U.S. citizenship and immigration services officer said their immigration stories are now American stories.

"Your stories are now woven into the fabric of this country," said Douglas Pierce, supervisory immigration services officer.

The naturalization ceremony was hosted by students in Grand Valley's international relations program. Polly Diven, professor of political science and director of the IR program, said it's the second time the ceremony has been at Grand Valley's Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Provost Maria Cimitile gave welcoming remarks and told the audience her grandparents were also immigrants.

"My father's parents left Italy for New York City in the early 20th century," Cimitile said. "They were discriminated against, they did not speak the language, but they kept moving forward and created wonderful lives for their children."

She also urged the new citizens to vote, calling it a right and privilege.


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