Willis P. Whichard, dean of Campbell University's Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, delivered the keynote address at a Naturalization and Granting of U.S. Citizenship ceremony at the United States District Court in Raleigh on Friday, May 13. Whichard is a former state Supreme Court justice and the only North Carolinian in the history of the state to serve in both houses of the Legislature and on both of the state's appellate courts. Becoming a U.S. citizen implies privileges, as well as responsibilities, Whichard noted. "We invite you to share in both the opportunity and the governance. The opportunity is not automatic; it is instead, the product of hard work, and we encourage you to cultivate that discipline." Whichard also encouraged the new citizens to assume roles of service in their communities. "We hope you will be part of what Alexander Hamilton called 'the American experiment in democratic government' by accepting the responsibility for the public life of the times and places in which you will live and work and rear your families," he said. President Grover Cleveland performed one of the most courageous acts of his presidency when he vetoed a bill that would greatly restrict the flow of immigration into the United States, Whichard added. "We are all immigrants or the descendants of immigrants," he said. "May you wear the truly superior title of citizen proudly." Richard Corpening, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, presented the candidates for naturalization and citizenship and the Honorable W. Earl Britt, Senior U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, administered the Oath of Allegiance. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, Whichard was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1986 and served until 1998. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1970-1974 and served as a North Carolina senator from 1974-1980. Whichard also served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 1980-1986, and was a practicing attorney with the Durham law firm of Powe, Porter, Alphin and Whichard. He became dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggin School of Law in 1999. In 2002, Whichard was presented the Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in history by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. He received the Distinguished Service Medal from the University of North Carolina in 2004 and was elected to the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation that same year. Whichard earned both a Master of Laws (LL.M) and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from the University of Virginia.
Photo Copy: Willis P. Whichard, dean of the Campbell University School of Law, and Judge W. Earl Britt, Senior U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina, welcomed new citizens at a Naturalization and Granting of U.S. Citizenship ceremony at the U.S. District Court in Raleigh. Whichard delivered the keynote address.