Delta State University has the privilege of hosting an event that symbolizes all that is good about the United States. On Friday, May 1, at 10:30 a.m., a naturalization ceremony will be conducted on the Delta State Quadrangle.
Approximately 110 new citizens from 38 countries will take the oath of citizenship, with 300-350 family and friends expected in attendance. Judges from the Northern District U. S. Court will participate in the ceremony. The Delta State Chorale will be singing the “National Anthem” and “America the Beautiful.”
This is Delta State’s first time to host the event which was traditionally held in a U. S. courthouse but was recently moved to college campus venues to make the life-changing experience available to the public.
David Crews of the United States District Court said the naturalization proceedings are a great civics lesson for area schools.
“It is a wonderful and heartwarming ceremony that is an important highlight in the lives of these new citizens, many of whom have great stories about their journey to become citizens of the United States,” said Crews.
Cetin Oguz, assistant professor of art at Delta State, knows the importance of the ceremony and the feeling of becoming a U.S. citizen.
A swimming scholarship at Delta State brought Oguz to Mississippi in 1999 from his native Istanbul, Turkey. He said the naturalization process gave him a chance to “learn more about the U.S. government and history and all the things that built this nation.” Oguz took the oath of citizenship in December 2008 during a ceremony hosted on the campus of the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
Oguz graduated in 2001 and married his wife, Carmen, that year. They now have two sons, ages 5 and 3 and reside in Cleveland.
Delta State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ann Lotven, believes the program creates a great learning opportunity. “Hosting the ceremony gives students the opportunity to witness the impact and importance of democracy,” said Lotven. “This is a unique opportunity and we have encouraged the Delta State faculty, staff, and students to be there to witness an event that is life-altering for so many.”
The program will include the presentation of candidates for naturalization, oath of citizenship, and presentation of souvenirs to the new citizens of the United States.
The program is free and the public is encouraged to attend. In the event of inclement weather, Jobe Auditorium will house the proceedings.