Indivisible, with Liberty & Justice for All
The world, quite literally, came to Landmark College today, in the form of 54 people taking the Oath of Allegiance and becoming citizens of these United States.
Twenty-three countries, from Bhutan to Venezuela, spanning five continents were represented on the Greenhoe Theater stage. Many of the candidates were adorned in clothing honoring their native land, which is one among many cultural elements U.S. District Court Chief Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford commented on during his remarks.
“We value the rich heritage you bring from your place of birth,” said Judge Crawford, chronicling the journey each must make, both emotionally and geographically, to take this step. Crawford urged the new citizens to take advantage of their well-earned opportunity and freedoms, and get involved in their communities and the political process, saying “We need you because of the gifts you carry with you.”
The idea for LC as the site of a naturalization ceremony began during the Fall 2017, when the College hosted an artist residency with Sandglass Theater that focused on the issue of refugee resettlement. Based on those activities, faculty member Geoff Burgess contacted the Vermont office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS officials said the size of the venue enabled them to have one of their larger ceremonies. Indeed, both the main and balcony levels of the 400-seat Greenhoe Theater were filled with friends and family of the candidates, as well as Landmark College students, faculty and staff, plus younger students from two nearby elementary schools.
“We are so honored to add this celebration to the history of Landmark College. It is a celebration that brings us closer to a more perfect union,” said Michael Luciani, Landmark College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Campus Life, during his welcoming remarks. Luciani, who began by sending regrets from College President, Dr. Peter Eden, who is traveling on College business, was joined onstage by Burgess to shake hands with the new citizens as they received their certificates.
The ceremony closed with a performance of God Bless America by Landmark College music faculty members, Stephen Glover and Charlie Schneeweis. Then, with hands on heart and eyes on the flag, everyone in the theater rose to join America’s newest citizens for their first recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.