In 1970, Sheila Meehan went for a summer swim at Stone Harbor, N.J. She slipped off her weeks-old Catholic University class ring and put it into the pocket of her jeans, which she left on the beach.
It wasn’t until she returned home to Newtown Square, Pa., that she realized her ring was missing. She contacted the beach patrol, but they hadn’t found it.
“I periodically thought about the ring — most recently around the holidays — but I had long since given up on getting it back,” she says.
Meanwhile, Theresa McKeown, a high school sophomore from Philadelphia, found a woman’s CUA class ring while digging in the sand in Stone Harbor in 1972. During the following 35 years, she tried to track down the ring’s owner. She sent letters and e-mails to Catholic University, to no avail.
This past January, McKeown e-mailed CUA again with details about the ring, including the following: It was engraved with the initials S.A.M. and inscribed with the words “Bachelor of Arts” and the year 1970.
Frank Persico, B.A. 1974, M.A. 1976, vice president for university relations and chief of staff, used the information to do some sleuthing with CUA’s alumni office. A Commencement roster from 1970 listed just one woman — Sheila Meehan — with the initials S.A.M. who had graduated with a B.A. that year. When telephoned, Meehan confirmed that the ring was hers, and McKeown mailed it to her home in Washington, D.C.
Meehan says she was touched by the efforts of both McKeown and Persico.
“It always comes back to the decency and good will of people,” she says. “I told my sister the story and she was ecstatic. She just thought it was so amazing and wonderful and I agree.”
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