Anthony Idigbe felt a strong sense of pride and sweet satisfaction Tuesday as he completed his journey to become a Canadian citizen.
But for the Nigerian-born Brock University student, marking the milestone in a setting close to his heart was the icing on the cake for what was already a special day.
The third-year Political Science student was among 22 people who officially became Canadian citizens during a ceremony held in the Goodman School of Business Atrium on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Held in celebration of Citizenship Week, the event was hosted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
The day began with a series of roundtable discussions, during which citizenship candidates, their family and friends, and several leaders from the Brock community came together to share their stories and to discuss what it means to be Canadian.
Joined by his parents, Idigbe said the discussions were heart-warming and added a personal touch to the experience.
“It was nice to be able to share with everyone, hear what their experiences are and learn about their background,” he said. “And it was really nice being able to do all of this in a familiar environment, somewhere you come every day to learn.”
Idigbe was not alone in his connection to the University.
The ceremony’s Presiding Official Dorothy Griffiths (BA ’73) is a Brock alumna and Professor Emeritus of Child and Youth Studies with the University, and ceremony clerk Cheryl Athoe (BA’90) is also a Brock grad.
Griffiths said she was proud to return to her alma mater to be a part of the special event.
Sadia Jahanzeb, who received her Canadian citizenship Tuesday alongside her three children, is a former faculty member in Brock’s Goodman School of Business. Originally from Pakistan, Jahanzeb is now an assistant professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland, but returned to Brock for the occasion.
“It really feels like home. Brock always feels like home,” she said. “I was really excited to be back.”
The ceremony caused Brock University President Gervan Fearon to reflect on his family’s own experience as newcomers to Canada.
“I can recall when my parents became Canadian citizens and when I became a Canadian citizen,” said Fearon, who was born in Birmingham, England to Jamaican parents. “At that time, I couldn’t imagine all of the possibilities that would open up as a result.”
He assured the new citizens that a world of opportunities is available to them, providing the chance to contribute to the great country they now call home.
“Canada is a mosaic and each one of you represents a component of that mosaic,” Fearon said. “That mosaic forms a picture of a beautiful country we can all be proud of.”
Also speaking at the ceremony were Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle, Lt. Col. Doug Johnson with Canadian Forces, and Sandra Wong with Brock’s Aboriginal Student Services.