A facility in downtown Lexington becomes a federal courtroom for a day today. That’s because Transylvania University is hosting a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony. The school’s Haggin Auditorium will be the site of the university’s first citizenship ceremony in 16 years.
(EDITORS's NOTE: We earlier reported that it had been 26 years since the last naturalization ceremony at Transy. The text above has been corrected.)
Chief U.S. District Judge, Karen Caldwell, a Transy alum, will confer citizenship on 220 people from seven different countries in a noon hour ceremony.
Brian Rich, a sociology professor at the school, says those becoming Americans represent 71 countries of origin, “We have a very substantial refugee population in Kentucky, different parts of Africa and Eastern Europe and other places. There’s a pretty strong Mexican contingent, I think 23 or so people.”
Professor Rich says the new citizens have immigrated to the U.S, and to Kentucky, for a combination of reasons including what he calls a “growing interconnectedness” the global economy as well as other political and economic factors.