University of Virginia President Jim Ryan welcomed more than 50 new U.S. citizens at Monticello July Fourth as the keynote speaker of the historic site’s 61st naturalization ceremony.
“What a perfect place to be on the Fourth of July, here at Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, the document that helped launch our nearly 250-year experiment in democracy and set forth principles that still inspire and guide us today,” Ryan said. “And what a perfect time to celebrate new citizens, on the same day that we celebrate the dawn of this country.”
One of the new Americans Ryan welcomed is Sui Amaama, father of a UVA football player.
Sui Amaama first moved with his parents to California from Samoa in the early 1990s and, years later, settled in Utah, got married and started a family. Utah is where former UVA football coach Bronco Mendenhall and his assistants recruited one of Sui’s sons, Snoop, to play lineman at UVA.
But shortly after Snoop committed to the Wahoos, those coaches left the University. After meeting new coach Tony Elliott, Snoop wanted to stay. “We fell in love with what coach Elliott is doing,” Sui said.