New United States citizens take the Oath of Allegiance during the Naturalization Ceremony at Moraine Valley Community College in April.

About 100 new United States citizens from 37 countries swore their Oath of Allegiance during a Naturalization Ceremony at Moraine Valley Community College on April 24. The ceremony was held in the Fine and Performing Arts Center’s Dorothy Menker Theater.

Moraine Valley, working in conjunction with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), was one of the first Illinois community colleges to host such a ceremony. The program included a presentation of colors by the Marine Air Control Group 48, the administration of the Oath of Allegiance, a video message from President Obama, keynote address by Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley, patriotic music, and a presentation of certificates. New citizens celebrated their accomplishment with their invited guests during a reception following the ceremony.

“The Naturalization Ceremony was absolutely amazing,” said Nina Shoman-Dajani, manager of Transition and ESL at Moraine Valley, and co-coordinator of the ceremony. “To witness new citizens pledge their allegiance to the United States is a spectacular and heartwarming event. The big smiles on their faces illustrated the pride they felt as they took the oath. Moraine Valley is proud to host the ceremony in conjunction with USCIS for the second consecutive year, and we welcome the diverse new citizens to our community.”

The Naturalization Ceremony is an effort promoted by the college’s Democracy Commitment committee, which works to promote civic engagement and social responsibility to its students.

“Events such as this allow our students to understand how each citizen contributes to the process of our democracy continually renewing itself as new challenges and opportunities surface,” said Dr. Jenkins. “As they begin to understand the struggles that bring immigrants to this country, I believe they will comprehend the profound commitment our forefathers had to creating a country that would welcome people from all corners of the world.”

For news media inquiries, call Jessica Crotty, College and Community Relations coordinator, at (708) 974-5281, or e-mail her at crotty@morainevalley.edu.