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UC Law Hosts 100 New U.S. Citizens

About 100 people from 36 countries were sworn in as new U.S. citizens Friday, September 14 in a naturalization ceremony held just days before Constitution Day, the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. The College of Law has hosted the program several times; but what made this year’s program even more poignant were the words of support provided by UC’s President Dr. Santa Ono and 3L Shahane Martirosyan, both naturalized citizens.

“Today is a really big day,” said Dr. Ono during his address. “I won’t forget the day I recited the oath. It was very special.” He spoke about his parent’s immigration from Japan to the United States. His father worked as a researcher at Princeton University for several years before the family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he was born. He became a U.S. citizen a little over a decade ago.

In his remarks Dr. Ono spoke about the honor and privilege of taking on new roles: as president of the University of Cincinnati and as new American citizens. Commending them all, he congratulated the attendees “embarking on an exciting new life.”

UC Law Student’s Speaks from the Heart about Her Special Connection

UC law student Shahane Martirosyan, the event’s keynote speaker, was born in Armenia, half way around the world. Shah and her family moved to the United States when she was 12 years old—as she said “with no right to object to my parents’ decision...I realized that not only did I not want to be in Los Angeles [the city to which they had immigrated], I outright hated being there.”

Martirosyan went on to talk about giving up her Armenian citizenship and adopting a new one. At 12 years old she didn’t know or understand the concept. But years later upon reflection she has developed a clearer understanding about the experience, what it means, and what the new citizens would be thinking. 

“I am Armenian; my memories of Armenia are fond yet remote. Arguable, my collective memory as an Armenian is much closer to my heart…I identify with being Armenian based on the commonalities I share with millions of Armenians around the world who do not reside within the borders of Armenia…”

“But I am American…I wept when the towers collapsed and around this time every year I remember the fear I felt on the morning of 9/11…I am an Armenian-American and hyphenated identities are the best part of the United States. You can have one or two or three and everyone still thinks it is alright…”

 The ceremony concluded with the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance and the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Hon. Michael R. Barrett ’77. Special thanks to the College Conservatory of Music, who co-hosted the program with the College of Law at the Patricia Corbett Theatre, and College of Law students who assisted.   

Read Shah Martirosyan’s speech in its entirety here.

See photos from the event here.