Meaghan McAvoy

President Hodge and Mercy Knolls Communities Board Chairman John Green renew the partnership between their communities Thursday.

Miami University and the retirement community The Knolls of Oxford celebrated a partnership Thursday night.

Phillip Shriver, Miami’s 17th president (1965-81), was the featured speaker at the event, dubbed Novemberfest for the month it’s celebrated. President David Hodge was also in attendance and called the event-where there was an overwhelming presence of Miami apparel-a “sea of red.”

Shriver, a resident of The Knolls with his wife Martha, gave a speech in honor of the start of the formal affiliation Dec. 20, 2005.

Shriver said he has always referred to Oxford as “a little piece of heaven on earth,” and is appreciative of the affiliation.

The renewed agreement was signed by Hodge and John Green, chairman of Maple Knoll Communities, Inc., at the beginning of the evening.

Green said he is satisfied thus far with the Miami partnership.

According to Green, both the Knolls and Miami benefit from the partnership, which is approaching its three-year anniversary.

Green said that while Miami students gain research and internship opportunities, Knolls’ residents gain access to the university, particularly through programs, such as athletic and cultural events.

Shriver said he was very grateful for the opportunity to be “a part of this beautiful, beautiful community.”

“There are so many wonderful things that have happened and will happen because of this affiliation,” Green said.

Hodge agreed.

“This is an extraordinary relationship and we are very thankful,” he said.

Veda Etheridge, a resident at The Knolls, said that she was incredibly thankful to have been able to retire in Oxford with her husband Bob, former vice president of student affairs at Miami.

“This is home,” she said. “We retired here.”

According to Shriver, this is part of the reason why the Miami connection is important to so many people.

“So many of us would love to be able to return to the place that we called home in Oxford,” he said.

According to Shriver, 60 percent of Knolls’ residents are somehow affiliated with Miami University, whether they are former staff or faculty members or alumni.

Etheridge said that she and her husband were “still Miami through and through,” and liked being able to remain connected to the university.

The Miami Music Department provided the entertainment for the evening. In addition to four tuba players, the Miami University’s Cheezies a capella group sang “For the Longest Time” and “I’m a Believer,” as well as Miami’s alma mater.

Shriver said the community was more than thankful for the partnership.

“Thank heavens for the great bond between Miami University and The Knolls of Oxford,” he said.