Media Contact: Alex Tyre

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Monticello announces Dr. Larry J. Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, as the keynote speaker for its 54th Annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony – the oldest continuous naturalization ceremony held outside of a courtroom in the United States.

“We are honored to welcome renowned political analyst Dr. Larry J. Sabato, whose work perpetuates Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a self-governing nation,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. “Jefferson wrote to Madison in 1787 that ‘the people…are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.’ Dr. Sabato’s message about the value of politics and the importance of civic engagement promises to be particularly meaningful for our newest citizens.”

Dr. Larry J. SabatoDr. Larry J. Sabato

Sabato leads the Center for Politics’ efforts to overcome the notion that politics thwarts the proper function of government. He also directs the Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball website, which has an unparalleled record of accuracy in predicting U.S. elections. He is the University Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and has had visiting appointments at Oxford University and Cambridge University in Great Britain. A Rhodes Scholar, he received his doctorate from Oxford, and he is the author or editor of two dozen books on American politics.  Sabato has appeared on television news shows hundreds of times, and is a two-time Emmy winner for his television documentaries “Out of Order” and “The Kennedy Half-Century.”

This 4th of July marks the 240th anniversary of American independence. Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, died at Monticello on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration.

Since 1963, more than 3,600 people from around the world have sworn their oath of citizenship in proceedings presided over by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia on the steps of Jefferson’s historic home. Past keynote speakers include four sitting presidents (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford and George W. Bush), in addition to General Colin Powell, Ambassador Andrew Young, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, author Frank McCourt, architect I.M. Pei, global corporate leader Muhtar Kent, and historian David McCullough. 

The naturalization ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. EDT. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Parking for the ceremony will be at Piedmont Virginia Community College with shuttle service to Monticello.  Reservations for the shuttle are recommended. Please reserve your shuttle time to Monticello online. More information is available at The ceremony and speech will also be streamed live at