After 22 Years, New U.S. Citizen Finally Gets To Vote
Westminster College rallies around director of campus safety’s long path to citizenship
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Krista DeAngelis (801) 832-2682
Nov. 3, 2008
SALT LAKE CITY– Many Americans never think twice about having the privilege to vote. As U.S. citizens, many take for granted the opportunity that a free democracy provides. Tomorrow however, after a long battle to become an American, one of the country’s newest citizens will take full advantage of his electoral right by voting in his first election.
After 22 years of fighting to become a U.S. citizen, Saeed Rezai, Westminster College’s director of campus safety, is ecstatic to exercise his new right.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling that after 22 years I finally get to vote…and the timing couldn’t have been better,” he said, because this election is so important to the country. “Had it not been for Westminster, this dream would not have come true.”
As a former Iranian citizen, his path to U.S. citizenship was not easy, but in July 2008, Rezai was officially sworn in as an American.
“The path was a roller coaster ride, and I never thought it would end,” Rezai recalled. “Several times I wanted to throw in the towel, but the Westminster community has been unbelievable and I’m so grateful I didn’t give up.”
Rezai’s fight to be an American has taken him longer than most Westminster students have been alive. Throughout the years, however, the campus community has rallied around Rezai, writing letters to Senator Orrin Hatch and other politicians. Several of the campus staff and faculty took a personal role in fighting for Rezai, including Steve Morgan, Westminster’s vice president for advancement and alumni relations.
“This is a wonderful example of a community getting behind someone and helping them achieve their dream,” Morgan said. “When you watch someone like Saeed go through this struggle, it makes you never want to take the privilege to vote for granted.”
Rezai and his wife will take to the polls first thing tomorrow morning.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu.