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VCU to host naturalization ceremony on Sept. 18 for 600 new U.S. citizens

Constitution Day event at the Siegel Center will be open to the public and the VCU community.

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At a Constitution Day ceremony, an estimated 600 individuals will take the Oath of Allegiance and become American citizens at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18., at the Stuart C. Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Judge David J. Novak of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia will preside over the ceremony as the new citizens will be administered their oath in front of families; VCU students, faculty and staff; and members of the general public.

Sanjiv Yajnik, president of the Financial Services division at Capital One, a member of the Capital One Executive Committee and a naturalized U.S. citizen, will deliver the keynote address.

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., VCU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and himself a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Greece, will give remarks on behalf of VCU, congratulating the new U.S. citizens.

“Participating in this ceremony is an honor that reminds me of when I became a proud, naturalized citizen some 23 years ago,” Sotiropoulos said. “In my experience, America remains true to its promise as the land of opportunity. I am eternally grateful for the chance I received to pursue and realize my version of the American Dream, and I wish our new fellow citizens all the best as they pursue the endless possibilities that are now opening to them.”

The  Sept. 18 ceremony is the culmination of the naturalization process, by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorates the formation and signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and recognizes those who have become citizens. With Sept. 17 falling on a Sunday this year, the commemoration is marked on Monday the 18th.

News media are invited to cover the event, and parking for media will be available. Please note: During the official proceedings, photography and video recording will not be allowed, but photo and video opportunities will be available before and after the ceremony.