Dreams Realized at Naturalization Ceremony
Mar 09, 2012
Ericka Haug, Concordia's interim registrar, and Dijana Ciber share a familial bond. Ciber lived across the street from Haug, and when she was 15, she moved in with the Haug family.
On March 9, Ciber also became a United States citizen, along with 30 others from 15 countries in the first naturalization ceremony held on campus.
Dreams of many kinds were realized as the Centrum was transformed into a temporary courtroom.
Judge John R. Tunheim '75 presided over the ceremony. His international diplomacy work includes helping the country of Kosovo establish a constitution, so he understands well the price of freedom and opportunity.
He encouraged the country's newest citizens to get involved in civic life and was proud to usher them in as brothers and sisters.
"This is the spirit of America," he says. "We are welcoming people from so many parts of the world. It is a very exciting day."
For Haug, she is relieved to know that Ciber, whom she considers to be her daughter, will be safe and protected as a citizen, a blessing her biological children never had to live without.
"Now she is free," she says, crying and embracing Ciber." Our children who are citizens haven't had to go through everything she has been through."
Another new citizen, Gloria de la Guardia, left civil war in her home country of Nicaragua to come to the United States. With tears streaming down her face, she shared how she accomplished her vision to go to college in her adopted country. She went back to school at age 45 and is now a phlebotomist.
"When I came here, my dreams came true," she says.