At the invitation of Congressman Sam Farr and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, psychology professor Aida Hurtado delivered the keynote address during the 2009 Proud to be an American Citizenship Ceremony.

Held on June 30 at Roaring Camp Railroads to naturalize 106 new citizens from 29 countries, the ceremony warranted page-one coverage in the next day's Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Hurtado encouraged the new citizens to view "citizenship as a form of empowerment" that would "enable them to fully participate in and influence and improve the political and cultural life of the nation." She stressed the importance of education as a way to enhance their civic participation and to realize their own dreams and their dreams for their children.

Farr and Eshoo, who sponsored the ceremony, coauthored a message in the program, saying in part: "Diversity is what makes our nation great and a world leader. This is evidenced today in all that you bring with your experiences and backgrounds which make our county a better place."

Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mark Stone emceed the event, which included a welcome by Georgiana Clark, corporate executive officer of Roaring Camp Railroads. The event was coordinated in large part by Carina Chavez, an aide to Farr and a UCSC alumna.