Nearly 100 people became United States citizens during a special naturalization ceremony on Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’ campus Thursday.
The university asked to host the event because of the important role international students and educators play at IU.
The new United States citizens come from 38 different countries and took an oath of allegiance to America.
The ceremony held special meaning for IUPUI Chancellor Nasser Paydar, who went through the same process 25 years ago. He says it was because of his father, who put him on a plane from Iran to America, that he found success in the U.S.
“We are Americans and we must stand up for one another and speak out against hatred and bigotry.”
“The boy grew to be a man, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, seeing his father only twice more in his life,” he said through tears.
Paydar congratulated the new citizens on the milestone and says welcoming them is especially important given the current political climate.
“We are Americans and we must stand up for one another and speak out against hatred and bigotry,” Paydar says. “We must do the hard work of being informed, especially as we exercise our hard-earned right to vote.”
Linmgu Quka was among the new citizens. She came to the U.S. from Zimbabwe in 1999.
“I just always want to be an American, to be in the United States, since I was a child,” Quka says. “So, this is a dream come true.”
Ichaneepun Prida came to the U.S. from Bangkok to study at IUPUI. She met her husband there and now has another fond memory of campus. She got teary eyed as she talked about getting citizenship.
“I very appreciate American history and how they treat people friendly and everything that you do not just for your country, but also in other countries, too,” Prida says.
Each new citizen left the ceremony carrying a miniature American flag.