Ruth Colvin is one month away from her 100th birthday and she’s still capable of stealing the show. Colvin was the honored guest at OCC’s annual Naturalization Ceremony and her message was the event’s icing on cake.
Colvin is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America who has dedicated her life to teaching others around the world. When Colvin was introduced she was presented a bouquet of flowers by College President Dr. Casey Crabill and serenaded with “Happy Birthday.” As she stepped to the podium she raised a sign above her head with the letters “EQHDMCR” written in thick black marker. She asked the new American citizens what the next letter in the alphabet was after each letter on her sign. By the time they got to the end of the sign they had spelled the word “friends.” “Friends,” said Colvin. “That’s what we all are to you and you are to us. Thank you for being our friends.”
One of the new citizens and friends is OCC student Munia Ramiz. She came to the United States five years ago from Bangladesh along with her mother, father and three sisters. Ramiz graduated from Syracuse’s Nottingham High School in 2015 and enrolled in OCC. She’s a Business Technology major who will earn her degree a year from now. “I’m very very excited. I’m proud to be an American citizen. In my family I am the first to become a citizen.”
Ramiz was one of approximately three dozen people who were sworn-in by New York State Acting Supreme Court Judge Michael Hanusczak. The wonderful event included patriotic songs by OCC Assistant Professor of Music David Rudari, D.M.A. and OCC Music Student Christopher A. Knapp.
After the ceremony each new citizen was presented a copy of Colvin’s book, “Off the Beaten Path” in which she shares stories of her world travels. Colvin took the time to meet each person, learn their name and write it in their copy of the book as she autographed it.
The OCC Foundation generously provided the books. The ceremony was presented in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Americanization League of Syracuse and Onondaga County.