Naturalization Ceremony

Setting New Citizens on the Path to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

November 14, 2018
IUPUI Hine Hall Auditorium
Indianapolis, Indiana

Welcome and Acknowledgements

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to IUPUI.

Thank you for that introduction, Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson. I'm proud to say that the chief judge is a graduate of the IU McKinney School of Law here at IUPUI.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Congratulations, my fellow Americans. You are about to become the newest citizens of the United States of America. You bring with you the cultures, traditions, and memories of 27 different countries, and each one of you took different pathways to reach this moment, driven by the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The hope of fulfilling this promise has brought more immigrants to the United States than to any other country in the world.

These seven words—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—translate into millions of American dreams.

You, our newest citizens, bring the drive, passion, and hunger for success that will continue to propel America forward.

My American Dream

One of those dreams is mine. You may not be able to tell from my Hoosier accent, but I am among the more than 40 million immigrants who call America home. It was 26 years ago almost to the day, I sat where you sit now. I took my Oath of Citizenship in a ceremony in downtown Indianapolis. I know how hard you've worked and the emotions you must be feeling today.

This country has opened the door to my dreams. I met my beautiful wife here. Both of my sons were born here. I became a mechanical engineer and now Chancellor of IUPUI, proud host of this morning's ceremony.

"Ask What You Can Do For Your Country"

America has given so much to all of us in freedom, opportunity and dreams come true, each of us should give back. President John F. Kennedy put it very well in his 1961 Inaugural Address, "Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."

As citizens we bear the rights and responsibilities to engage in our communities.

We owe it to each other and to this country to stand up for one another and speak out against hatred and bigotry.

We must do the hard work of staying informed, especially as we exercise our hard-earned right to vote.

I look out over this remarkable group, and I am reminded of all that immigrants have brought to this country. The great scientist Albert Einstein was an immigrant. Madelaine Albright, the first female U.S. secretary of state: an immigrant. Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google: an immigrant. The founders of YouTube: immigrants. The co-founder of WhatsApp: an immigrant … Some of you are probably using WhatsApp right now.

And these are only a few of the millions of immigrants here in America who have brought creativity, resourcefulness, motivation and so much more to this country.