Clayton Center is location of Feb. 24 Naturalization Ceremony

Feb. 14, 2012
Contact: Jason Huffaker, U.S. District Court, Eastern Division of Tennessee

865.545.4234, ext. 2275

In a first-time occurrence, the United States District Court will conduct a naturalization ceremony in Maryville, Tenn.

The special event will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, February 24, at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus. U.S. Senator and Maryville native Lamar Alexander will speak.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton, who will preside, chose Blount County for this historic ceremony.

Naturalization proceedings for this division of the court are traditionally held at the Howard H. Baker Jr. United States Courthouse in Knoxville. In recent years, however, the number of applicants for American citizenship has been so large that the federal courtrooms could not accommodate the applicants and the public. Consequently, many of the naturalization ceremonies have been moved to a larger place, the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building in Knoxville.

Magistrate Judge Guyton said that since this division of the court, the Northern Division of the Eastern District of Tennessee, covers 14 area counties, he thought it would be a good gesture to move the ceremony to one of the other counties. Most of the approximately 170 applicants for citizenship live in the court’s Northern Division.

He chose Maryville and the 1,200-seat Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre and invited Senator Alexander to speak. This will be the senator’s first speech at an East Tennessee naturalization ceremony, but he previously spoke at a similar ceremony in the federal court at Nashville, his office said.

Although the ceremony is being held away from the courthouse, it still will be an official court proceeding and, as such, is open to the public.

The 60-member Maryville College Concert Choir will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other selections, and the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard will present the colors. Dr. William T. “Tom” Bogart, president of Maryville College, will make welcoming remarks.