On Wednesday, September 30, Corinne Nicolas ‘95, associate professor of English at Tusculum College, became an American citizen. Nicolas took the Oath of Citizenship in a naturalization ceremony along with approximately 150 other new citizens at the ceremony held at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Nicolas fell in love with America 25 years ago when she visited Greeneville as a high school exchange student. As part of the exchange program, she spent the summer with a local family and came to love not only America, but East Tennessee in particular.
After returning to her home in Brittany, France, Nicolas finished high school, as well as her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in France before finally returning to America as a Fulbright Visiting Lecturer at Central Missouri State University. She eventually found her way back to Greeneville in 1992, first teaching French, and then English, at Tusculum College.
She also earned a second master’s degree from Tusculum College in 1995.
“Tusculum College had a great influence on this decision to seek U.S. citizenship,” said Nicolas. “We teach our students about citizenship in the Commons program, the rights and responsibilities, and about engagement and doing service, and part of me knew I couldn’t really do that to the full extent. I love being here and really want to be part of the American society - to be truly engaged.”
Nicolas said that while she has family still living in France, she considers the United States her home and has no plans to ever move back to France.
“Tusculum College has been my community and working here has shown me what it means to be part of a community, a society that makes you want to make it better,” said Nicolas, who plans to immediately register to vote as a her first act as a new citizen.
France does allow dual citizenship, so she did not have to give up her French citizenship in order to become an American citizen, which was one of the issues that concerned her, not for herself, but for her family.
“I didn’t want my parents to see it as a betrayal, but my heart is definitely in America.”
Currently Nicolas is teaching English courses in the Graduate and Professional Studies Gateway program and is pursuing her doctorate in English through Indiana University in Pennsylvania.