Daniel Feterovskiy waves a flag as his mother Oksana Feterovkaya and father Aleksy Feterovskiy (last names vary because of gender) listen to a video message from President Barack Obama. The couple immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan and were at ECU to participate in a naturalization ceremony. (Photos by Jay Clark)

ECU hosts Greenville’s first naturalization ceremony

Aug. 17, 2015

By Jay Clark
For ECU News Services

Forty-eight applicants from 28 countries became United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony held at the East Carolina Heart Institute Aug. 14. This was the first time a naturalization ceremony has been hosted on the campus of East Carolina University or in Greenville.

Provost Ron Mitchelson welcomed the newly naturalized citizens, sharing his ideas about American values and how they guide citizens at the university and as a nation.
ECU Provost Ron Mitchelson congratulates new U.S. citizens at the end of the ceremony.

“Americans love freedom. It is perhaps our most cherished value,” Mitchelson said. “It is embedded in our culture. It must have integrity, and we must trust in it.”

He explained that diversity is a foundation of American society and it is important to respect and celebrate each other’s differences. Mitchelson pointed out these are also the values embraced at ECU.

“Americans strive to live in a very inclusive society,” he said. “I look into the audience and see your shining faces, I see that diversity. We celebrate that.”

The applicants took the Oath of Allegiance, administered by United States Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Swank, and then were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by one of the new citizens.

Dr. James Gehlhar, associate vice chancellor for International Affairs, said hosting an event like this is vital to ECU’s reputation in the region.

“Today’s naturalization ceremony is an important part of ECU’s internationalization and diversification efforts,” he said. “This event serves as an example to the campus, the community and the region of ECU’s commitment to being an internationally engaged and outward-looking university.”

Pictured below, new U.S. citizens take their pledge during a ceremony held at ECU Aug. 14.