There is something truly special about the bond that exists between Woodlands Retirement Community and Marshall University. Separated by just four miles along picturesque Fifth Street Hill, these two cornerstones of the Huntington community share more than just beautiful campuses and welcoming leadership. They also share individuals, ideas, and a unique mission: the calling of people home to the Appalachian region.
Welcoming A New Connection
Already home to many sons and daughters of Marshall, our community was thrilled to welcome Marshall alumnus Larry Crum (’05) to the Woodlands family in September. Larry has joined Woodlands as the new director of marketing and communications, bringing with him a decade of experience in a similar role at the Marshall University Foundation.
During his time at the Marshall, Larry developed strong connections between the university and Woodlands, providing him with a unique perspective in the relationship between the two entities and the numerous residents with ties to Marshall. Woodlands is not only home to former students, but also educators and staff who continue to actively support their alma mater through the Marshall Foundation.
“I had the privilege of meeting and working closely with many members of the Woodlands family during my time at the Marshall Foundation. I fell in love with the campus and the people,” Crum said. “I am excited to join Woodlands and to continue bridging the gap between our community, Marshall University and the entire region. There are so many great things happening at Woodlands, I can’t wait to be a part of that future.”
Larry’s story is similar to that of many residents who moved away from the area and later returned home. After graduating from college, he left West Virginia to pursue a career in the motorsports industry before returning home in 2015. Originally from nearby Point Pleasant, where his parents still reside, Larry currently lives in South Point, Ohio, with his wife Amanda – also a Marshall graduate – and their two children.
Never Miss a Marshall Moment
With so many residents enjoying strong ties to Marshall, it is only natural that Woodlands serves as a central hub for regular university events and gatherings. As an officially recognized alumni chapter of the Marshall University Alumni Association, residents enjoy regular visits from speakers, faculty, performers and university leadership throughout the year with the Marshall Monday series and other special events.
Woodlands is also a primary sponsor of Marshall’s annual Homecoming celebrations. In September, residents donned their best green and white gear and helped decorate the Woodlands van as active participants in the Homecoming parade. Woodlands was also the lead sponsor of the alumni tailgate prior to the game, as hundreds of alumni and friends of the university enjoyed a festive afternoon cheering on their alma mater in a thrilling victory for the Herd.
In addition to events on the Woodlands campus, residents regularly ride the bus to the university to enthusiastically cheer on the Herd at sporting events, theatrical performances and other Marshall-centric events. Woodlands CEO Jeff Harkins describes that relationship between the university and Woodlands as a key part of the future of Huntington.
“There is a synergy that exists between our communities,” Harkins said. “Both share similar goals to boost Huntington by retaining and encouraging West Virginians to return to the state at every phase of life, from college to retirement.”
More University Connections
Jeff, an active member of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce, may not be a native of West Virginia, but he has adopted it as his home. Joining Woodlands almost a decade ago from his home in Kansas, he has become a fan of the university and proudly cheers on the Herd in his newly acquired green and white clothing. And he is not alone.
One well-known resident with ties to Marshall is Dorothy “Dot” Hicks, a former administrator, coach and professor at Marshall and Marshall Athletics Hall of Famer. She’s enjoying her retirement at Woodlands while still cheering on the Thundering Herd. Even residents who didn’t originally hale from West Virginia or attend Marshall University, like Jeff, have become enthusiastic fans and supporters and enjoy the connection between the community and the college. Every Saturday in the fall, and on game nights throughout the year, you will see the event spaces at Woodlands filled with fans cheering on Marshall!
The connection to Marshall University is just one benefit of living at Woodlands. While the advantages are many, the strongest is simply the opportunity to engage with people and to find purpose in how our days are spent. Studies show that personal connections and the ability to interact with others is one sure way to increase your health and your life expectancy.
Whether you are interested in finding a way to do something purposeful, such as supporting the local university, or how to make new friends, Woodlands is a perfect place to find either. Making a visit to Woodlands and meeting residents who will tell you how they find connections with each other and the local community is the best way to learn more. Contact us at 304-697-1620 to schedule your visit. Even fans of other universities, like Jeff, are welcome!