70 new U.S. citizens sworn in at UNH naturalization ceremony

Union Leader Correspondent
September 19. 2018 8:51PM
UNH student Srigana Padamati, left, and his parents were sworn in as U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony on the college campus Wednesday morning. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

Mores Dominique, of Madison, holds his hand over his heart during a naturalization ceremony at UNH Wednesday morning. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM — A University of New Hampshire bioengineering student and his parents were among the 70 people who became United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony at the Memorial Union Building Wednesday morning.

Srigana Padamati, a senior from Stratham, took the oath of renunciation and allegiance with his mother, Sri Kolan, and his father, Ravi Padamati. They had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Srigana Padamati was thrilled the naturalization ceremony took place on campus.

“It’s pretty cool. I’m glad. I was supposed to go to Concord,” Padamati said. “I am excited to be part of it here.”

Although naturalization ceremonies have been held at state high schools to educate students about the immigration process, this is the first time UNH has held such an event. Almost 100 students from UNH School of Law in Concord were in the audience among family members and dignitaries.

UNH President James Dean said the college campus is the perfect place to hold a naturalization ceremony. He reminded the audience that they educate more than 1,000 international students from 70 countries and one in five UNH students studies abroad at some point during their educational journey.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, congratulated the new citizens.

“Congratulations to all of you here today and your families for achieving one of the highest privileges in the world — U.S. citizenship,” Hassan said. “You may have come from 36 countries, but as of today — right now — you are Granite Staters and you are Americans. Godspeed.”

Shea-Porter said each American has an obligation to be heard, seen and to speak up.

“I’m asking all of you to be fully involved in this great democracy of ours,” Shea-Porter said.

For Mores Dominique, who lives in Madison and immigrated from France, becoming a citizen means having security.

“I can live in the States with my wife and my daughter for years to come,” Dominique said.

During the ceremony, Associate Dean Reginald Wilburn sang “America the Beautiful” and the UNH Chamber Singers performed the National Anthem and directed by Alex Favazza.

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