Harvard Business School Swears in 147 New U.S. Citizens at Naturalization Ceremony
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Harvard Business School hosted a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday for 147 immigrants who were sworn in as United States citizens.
Individuals hailing from 48 countries of origin took their oaths of citizenship during the ceremony, which featured remarks from HBS Dean Srikant M. Datar and Massachusetts District Judge Denise J. Casper.
After their swearing-in, which took place in Klarman Hall, the new citizens watched a welcome message from President Joe Biden, recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time, and celebrated with friends and family at a nearby reception.
Datar opened the ceremony by reflecting on his own experience of becoming a U.S. citizen.
“I understand this journey well,” Datar said. “I know the unwavering determination required, the steady commitment, and the courage.”
Datar said immigrating to the U.S. from India and his work with diverse students and faculty at HBS have given him a deep appreciation for the contributions immigrants make to American society.
“Many of the most successful and innovative businesses in this country have been launched by immigrants or their descendants,” Datar said. “You, too, will contribute your talent and skills to the continued growth and prosperity of our nation.”
“Your journey is a testimony to the entrepreneurial spirit that has long defined the American dream,” he added.
Attendees said the ceremony’s location at HBS held special significance due to the school’s international reach and name recognition.
“Harvard is a school well known all over the world not only for its history, but for its contributions through history of bringing up people who change the world,” said Alsdig P. Bashir, who was naturalized during the ceremony after immigrating to the U.S. from Sudan 15 years ago. “I always dreamt of me being at Harvard.”
“Who knows, I could come up with a new economical business theory that would revolutionize the world,” Bashir added, after pausing to look around at the Business School’s campus. “Having a certificate provides me guaranteed opportunities.”
“A ceremony here recognizes, as the dean mentioned, the impact that immigrants have in our country, in our economy, and in our communities,” said Denis C. Riordan, a district director for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and one of the event’s organizers.
“Standing in this hall, which is a symbol of America's future, to welcome 147 new citizens — it’s so fitting,” Riordan added.
For many of these citizens, Tuesday’s ceremony marked the end of a decades-long naturalization process.
Svetlana Gusako described the ceremony as a breath of fresh air after a stressful immigration process. Gusako said she had been nervous about passing her citizenship exam and being sworn in, but both ended up being “such a nice experience.”
“I feel so welcome,” she said.
Douglas I. Somoza, a Harvard MBA student who helped run Tuesday’s event, described the ceremony as a “powerful” reminder of the contributions of immigrants to America.
“Regardless of where we come from, we’re all united in that we’re all in this one nation together. And it’s our differences that make us stronger, and who we are,” Somoza said.
—Staff writer Adelaide E. Parker can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on X @adelaide_prkr.
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