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Constitution Day: UND to welcome nation’s newest citizens

Events planned include naturalization ceremony, information session on becoming U.S. citizen

UND is set to hold a number of on-campus events on Friday, Sept. 16, in celebration of Constitution Day.

Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, commemorates the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. The celebration also recognizes those who have become naturalized U.S. citizens. The 2004 law establishing the combined holiday was part of a congressional bill mandating that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.

At 10 a.m. on Friday, there will be a Naturalization Ceremony held at the Gorecki Alumni Center. The ceremony will see 41 individuals from 11 different countries take the Oath of Allegiance to become new citizens. Students, faculty, staff and members of the Grand Forks community are invited to attend.

“Holding a Naturalization Ceremony in the Gorecki Alumni Center is the perfect way to celebrate Constitution Day,” said UND President Andrew Armacost. “I look forward to giving a warm welcome and my heartiest congratulations to the people who will become our nation’s newest citizens.”

Armacost requested the ceremony to be held on the UND campus. This will mark the first Naturalization Ceremony to be held on campus in several years.

The 41 citizenship candidates originate from the following 11 countries: Bhutan, Cameroon, Canada, Congo (Kinshasa), Liberia, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Philippines, Somalia and Vietnam. They live in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Mandaree, Minot, New Town, Oakes, West Fargo and Williston.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal, of the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, will welcome attendees, and remarks will be offered by U.S. Chief Judge Peter D. Welte. Following the administration of the Oath of Citizenship, UND President Andy Armacost will address the new citizens.

Following the Naturalization Ceremony, the Chester Fritz Library will host a table at the Memorial Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to hand out 100 copies of the U.S. Constitution. People can pick up their own version of the nation’s most influential document.

Starting at 1 p.m. Friday will be a session titled “Naturalization/Immigration 101,” for people who wish to learn more about becoming a U.S citizen. The session will be held in the Memorial Union in Room 340.

The presentation will be given by Amber Vasek, a UND alumna and community relations specialist for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Vasek will be presenting from Denver via online conferencing technology. The session can also be viewed online through Webex, and online and in-person attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. More information can be found on the UND Events Calendar.

In further recognition of Constitution Day, the Federalist Society at the UND School of Law is hosting a lecture and discussion at noon Tuesday, Sept. 20. More information and a link to RSVP can be found on the UND Events Calendar.

Note to media members: As per a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services media advisory, members of the media who wish to attend the Naturalization Ceremony should RSVP to USCIS Public Affairs Officer Debbie Cannon, office: 720.852.6917; cell: 202.281.6615, email:, Twitter: @USCISMediaCntrl.

The new citizens’ naturalization certificates contain personally identifiable information. It is requested that media outlets not publish or share photos of new citizens holding their certificates unless that information is blurred.