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76 celebrate American citizenship at IUP ceremony

| Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 11:23 a.m.
U.S. Citizen Clem Gigliotti of Monongahela (front left) listens as a group of candidates for U.S. citizenship take an oath of allegiance during a Naturalization Ceremony at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday, October 26, 2012. Gigliotti's wife, Barbara, (not pictured) originally of Canada, became a U.S. citizen during the ceremony. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
U.S. Citizen Wency Champo of Zambia, South Africa, says the Pledge of Allegiance during a Naturalization Ceremony at Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday, October 26, 2012. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Radu Bordeianu has a simple reason for becoming a United States citizen.

“Only in America can a person come with two suitcases and have the life we have now,” said Bordeianu, 37, of Wexford, a theology professor at Duquesne University who arrived in the United States from Romania more than 13 years ago to study.

America, Bordeianu said, provides the opportunities “to do what a person has never ever dreamt of doing in their home country.”

Bordeianu and his wife, Loredana, were among the 76 people from 32 countries to take the Oath of Allegiance and become citizens on Friday during a ceremony at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The naturalization ceremony culminated activities at the campus celebrating International Education Week.

The new citizens hail from countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Some came dressed in native garb. They spoke both in English and the tongues of their homeland.

IUP President Michael Driscoll told the new citizens he was honored to once again be witness to a naturalization ceremony.

“I believe that they are one of the most important things and one of the most poignant we do as a country,” he said.

Becoming citizens at IUP was particularly special for Wayne Forbes, 46, and his wife, SarahPeart-Forbes, 39, of Butler.

The couple lived for a time in Indiana while she pursued her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the university.

It was educational opportunities that brought them both to the United States from their Jamaican homeland, but they have made their life here. The couple have three young children — all born in America.

“We've fallen in love with the United States,” said Wayne Forbes, who teaches biology at Slippery Rock University. “We think it's a great land.”

For Karin Allison, 38, of Prospect, Butler County, becoming a citizen was a practical move.

Allison came to the United States in 1999 after meeting and marrying her husband, whom she met while the two were members of a Christian acting company that traveled through Europe.

She decided to become a citizen earlier this year for two reasons — the costs of renewing her German passports would be exorbitant, and she wanted to be able to vote in this year's presidential election.

“After awhile you feel guilty you live here, you take government services, you pay taxes but that huge responsibility, that right to vote, is only for citizens,” Allison said.

Unfortunately, the ceremony came too late for Allison and the rest to register to vote in time for the Nov. 6 election.

“The next midterm election — I'm there,” she said.

The Bordeianus, whose son, Stefan, 12, automatically became a citizen yesterday by virtue of their naturalization, said they were very disappointed they would not be able to vote this year, but they will make up for it.

“We're here to stay for the rest of our lives, and there are many more elections down the road,” Radu Bordeianu said.

Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or

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