Luz Arango has been making daily rounds as a member of the Wofford College housekeeping staff for 13 years, but her walk these days is different.

She now walks as an American.

A native of Colombia, South America, Arango became a naturalized citizen during a Naturalization Oath Ceremony Sept. 21 at Cowpens National Battlefield. Reciting the oath with about 20 other new citizens at the Revolutionary War park was one of the happiest moments of her life, she says.

“I’m very happy to be a United States citizen,” Arango says. “It’s a country that I have a lot of love for and am very grateful to. The United States is a melting pot of lots of different nationalities, and I’m very proud to be a part of that.”

Arango says she decided to complete the naturalization process because she wants to be more fully invested in the country that has given her new meaning and direction.

“I feel like I’m much more a part of the community and the society as a citizen,” she says. “And now I have certain rights that are critical in terms of contributing and voicing my concerns. A vote and an opinion count.

“Being here has given me an opportunity to advance and to have a better life for me and my daughter (Tatiana) and also help out my family members back home in Colombia. I’ve met great people here, and I really feel like part of the Wofford family.”

Arango moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 1996, initially settling in New Jersey before moving to South Carolina a few years later. She said friends’ recommendations convinced her that South Carolina was a great place to live and work. Her experience at Wofford has proven that to be true, she says.

Arango said Wofford student body president Fredy Madrid ’20, a native of Honduras, helped her complete the naturalization application process. And she received a congratulatory bouquet of flowers from President Nayef Samhat.

“I want to thank everyone who has been an angel to me in many different ways,” she says. “God bless America, and I’m very grateful to be part of the Wofford community.”

By Mike Hembree