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BC to Host Naturalization Ceremony on March 21

(Photo from Shutterstock)

By Jack Dunn | Director of News & Public Affairs

Published: Mar. 17, 2013

To honor its origins as a university founded 150 years ago to serve Boston’s immigrant population, Boston College and the Graduate School of Social Work will host a naturalization ceremony on March 21 at 3 p.m. in Robsham Theater.

One hundred immigrants — including BC freshman Chuda Rijal of Bhutan — will take the oath of allegiance to the United States in a ceremony presided over by US District Court Justice George A. O’Toole Jr., a 1969 graduate of Boston College.    

The ceremony, which is open to the BC community, will also feature several BC musical groups and an appearance by BC ROTC students and Undergraduate Government of Boston College Vice President Kudzai Taziva ’13.

“Hosting this ceremony is a great fit for us,” said GSSW Dean Alberto Godenzi, who was naturalized in Boston in 2010 along with his wife and daughter.  “Social work is all about inclusion and empowerment. There is something unique about experiencing this moment, when people from all walks of life collectively embrace the values of the nation. We wanted to bring this ceremony to BC to be witnessed by the students, faculty and staff of Boston College.”

Godenzi credits Denis Riordan, district director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with approaching the school to host the ceremony after the successful launch of the GSSW’s Immigrant Integration Lab. “Everyone at Boston College from the president to the maintenance staff has shown enthusiastic support for this event, which is connected to the migration symposium and our 150th anniversary,”  said Godenzi. “This naturalization ceremony is BC at its best; I am humbled to be a part of it.”   

The ceremony will serve as a backdrop for a two-day symposium on migration issues beginning in Robsham Theater later that day, an event being held as part of BC’s Sesquicentennial celebration.  

The 100 citizenship candidates come from 42 countries including Albania, China, India, Nigeria, Peru, Turkey and Vietnam. They reside in Massachusetts communities ranging from Allston to Winthrop. According to the USCIS, each year the United States welcomes approximately 680,000 citizens during naturalization ceremonies across the US and around the world.

“Hosting this naturalization connects Boston College to its roots and the globe,” said Westy Egmont, the director of the Immigrant Integration Lab and a part-time faculty member in the GSSW. “Education is the escalator from the docks to the Federal Bench, as witnessed in Judge O’Toole and the rise of many Irish and other ethnic families with the help of BC. As part of the GSSW and the Immigrant Integration Lab, fostering a country of commitment and extending the franchise of full citizenship, is the vehicle for creating a healthy democracy for the decades to come.”