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Miami makes Mergers' Valentine's Day magical

By Kelly Higginson
On February 14, 2014

The Miami University Alumni Office has sealed almost 14,000 envelopes and sent off this year's annual valentine to each Miami Merger couple. Starting in 1973, the tradition has become a Valentine's Day highlight for many Miami Mergers.

Ray Mock, the Executive Director of the Miami's Alumni Association is a key contributor to the Merger valentine cards each year. He said each year's Miami Merger valentine is crafted with a new design and a poetic message.

"Each year our advanced alumni communications team drafts ideas around what poetry and design we will use and we all add and give feedback which makes each year so unique and special for those alumni," Mock said.

Shelley Sedlacek, a Miami '79 alumna and merger, said she and her husband have been receiving the valentines each year and saving them.

"I love the valentines the Alumni Association sends out each year, I've saved every one they've sent me. They are always something clever about being a Miami merger," Sedlacek said.

This year's valentine is playing off a theme of a magical kingdom, according to Mock. The poem talks about a magic campus nestled on a hill outside of a cornfield where romance takes place. Inside the card is the lantern of Miami, representing that the magical romantic place is the Miami campus.

Some Merger couples are taking the holiday as an occasion to reunite with old friends.

"We are going out with another Miami Merger couple to a romantic dinner. We have become best friends after college and there are three couples in our area so we go out every weekend," Sedlacek said. "The Mergers are pretty big with us in Ohio, it's like we are our own little sorority and fraternity."

Merger and 2008 alumna Nikki Kelleher recently married husband in October.

"We met my sophomore year and ended up going on the same study abroad program through Miami and dated through graduation," Kelleher said.

In addition to receiving their first Miami merger valentine card, the newlywed couple plans on attending another Miami graduate's launch party in Chicago for Valentine's Day.

"One of our Miami friends just launched a new iPhone app and invited us all to a launch party for it. It will be really fun spending Valentine's Day with our close Miami friends, we also plan on going to a romantic dinner after to celebrate the first Valentine's Day as official mergers," Kelleher said.

For Valentine's Day, the Alumni Office will be dressing in red to support Miami athletics and celebrate the success of another Miami Merger valentine, Mock said.

"We get feedback every year from people that tell us how much they enjoy receiving them each year," Mock said. "Sometimes we even get calls from people that didn't receive them for certain reasons and are looking for us to send another."

According to Sedlacek, the Miami Merger love continues on for a lifetime after graduating.

"In June 2009 we renewed our vows under the Upham Hall arch a thousand other couples that participated in the Guinness Book of World Records event," Sedlacek said. "The alumni association has done many things to continue the merger love."

According to Mock there were 1,000 couples at the Guinness Book of World Records event, and 27,596 individuals who have married a fellow Miamian in history.

"The valentine's cards are just another way to keep those couples who met at Miami and married feel special about their relationship," Mock said.

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