Media Contact: Mia Magruder Dammann, 434-984-7596

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Monticello is pleased to announce that Andrew Tisch, prominent businessman, civic leader and co-author of a new book on the American immigrant experience, will deliver the keynote address at its 56th annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony—the nation’s oldest continuous naturalization ceremony held outside a courtroom.  The event also celebrates the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Andrew Tisch with co-author Mary Skafidas

Approximately 70 individuals will become new American citizens at Monticello’s ceremony. Since 1963, over 3,600 people from countless countries around the world have sworn their oath of citizenship on the steps of Jefferson’s home. Past keynote speakers have included four sitting presidents (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford and George W. Bush), in addition to General Colin Powell, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, musician Dave Matthews, author Frank McCourt and historian David McCullough.

“One of the most powerful aspects of Monticello’s naturalization ceremony occurs when the judge invites the newly sworn American citizens to speak,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, President and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. “The real meaning of Independence Day — and what it means to be an American — is found in the mosaic of stories shared by these individuals.  In the spirit of that tradition, we are honored to welcome Andrew Tisch and his new book of American stories to Monticello.” 

Tisch currently serves as co-chairman of the board and chairman of the executive committee of Loews Corporation, one of the largest diversified companies in the United States. In addition to active roles in numerous universities and civic organizations, Tisch is also one of the founders of The No Labels Coalition, an American bipartisan political organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in politics, and vice chairman of the Center for U.S. Global Leadership.

Tisch’s book, Journeys: An American Story, which he co-authored with Mary Skafidas, features a collection of 72 essays recounting the unique and diverse stories of the immigrant experience. Accounts from notable figures like Alan Alda, Tony Bennett, Michael Bloomberg, Elaine Chao, Nancy Pelosi and Dr. Mehmet Oz are included.

“These words in various forms, come from Jews who escaped the Holocaust and the Soviet Union, from those fleeing poverty and hopelessness on just about every continent as well as religious and/or political persecution,” said Kirkus Review in its review of Journeys. “More than 70 voices combine to create a powerful chorus singing a hymn of hope and gratitude.” 

"It’s no secret that immigration has been a major reason behind America’s 242 (and counting) years of success,” adds Warren Buffett in his recommendation of Journeys.

This Independence Day visitors will have the opportunity to see a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, generously loaned by David M. Rubenstein. This historic document, one of only 26 surviving copies, will be on display in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery at the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center at Monticello.  

The event will feature patriotic music, including performances by the Charlottesville Municipal Band and a soloist from the Charlottesville Opera.  Following the ceremony, Monticello will host a Jeffersonian Open House with free walk-through tours from 11:15 A.M. to 1 P.M.

The free, public ceremony begins at 9:00 A.M. Parking and transportation via shuttle buses will be provided from Piedmont Virginia Community College to Monticello. Reservations for the shuttle bus are recommended and available online. For those that cannot attend in-person, the ceremony will also be streamed live online. More information is available at

Monticello will host a public book signing of Journeys with Tisch and Skafidas directly after the ceremony. Journeys is available for pre-order and for purchase during and after the ceremony through The Shop at Monticello.

About The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, the foundation seeks to share Jefferson’s world, his ideas and the relevance of history with a national and global audience. Monticello is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the foundation’s regular operating budget does not receive ongoing government support to fund its twofold mission of preservation and education. About 440,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit