University Professor Embraces American Process

MSU Hosts Naturalization Ceremony

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Missouri State University held a Naturalization Ceremony yesterday embracing our country's newest citizens.

Missouri State professor Dr. Mahua Mitra was one of many in the audience as individuals from 28 countries gave their Oath of Allegiance.

 It was her 1st Naturalization Ceremony, after taking the Oath herself in 2006.

"It kind of makes me pause and think," said Dr. Mitra. "Citizenship comes with its rights and responsibilities, and I hope they take their responsibilities seriously as well."

Dr. Mitra came to America from India with just $100 in her pocket, all for the opportunity to attend graduate school at Clemson in 1984. 

"From a very young age, I was told that your education was your key to a better future," she explained. "I went to one of the best colleges in India, but looked here in the United States for graduate school. They were the best."

Her father saved up for the 1-way ticket with money he had put aside for her wedding day. 

"I owe a lot to this country: I earn my living here, I got a free education here, and now it is time for me to give back," said Dr. Mitra.

She moved to Springfield in 1993 and has been a professor at Missouri State for the last 25 years.

"When I look back 25 years ago, I think our students are much better at championing their causes."

Just this past Friday, students held a walkout and rally defending their fellow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.

Dr Mitra was in attendance, along with Student Body President Brandon McCoy and University President Dr. Clif Smart. 

"I think we are at a really special point in our institutions history," explained Brandon McCoy. "We have had some really good conversations using civil discourse."

And for Dr. Mitra, that's the embodiment of the American spirit and higher education. 

"That's what we are trying to teach our kids in the classroom: just because you and I may not agree on something doesn't mean that we can't talk to each other. The more exposure our students have to diversity on campus through race, ethnicity, and ideas the better off they will be," said Dr. Mitra. 

"After all, that's what the real world is like."

 


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