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November 12, 2004

ULM Treasure Found in Monroe Flower Bed

See pictures here

Monroe resident Gini Linder was puzzled when she found a hard piece of metal in her front yard flowerbed while digging up plants a few weeks ago. When she brushed dirt off the metal, she realized it was actually a ring.

"I took it inside and I cleaned it up with soapy water and realized that it was from 1936," Gini Linder said. "I wasn't sure which school it was because I had never heard of it before and I went to the Internet and looked up enough information to realize that it was ULM," Linder said.

Engraved around the gold ring's center oval amethyst was Louisiana State University Northeast Center, which is a former name (from 1934-1939) of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Once Linder realized it was a ring from Monroe's university, she went in search of the owner through the ULM Library.

"I went to the archives and found the yearbook (from 1936) and there was only one F.C. in it," Linder said.

The ring had the letters "F.C." engraved on the inside, which were the only personal identification. With the help of the library's special collections staff, the owner was identified from the yearbook as Dr. Fahem Cannon, a pre-med student at the university at the time.

From there, Linder got in touch with Cannon's family and returned the ring to his daughter, Bunny Cannon-Hewitt.

"My sister and I were elated when we heard the news," Cannon-Hewitt said. "I took the ring to a jeweler and they said it was in great condition and that the stone is a real amethyst."

Her father passed away a few years ago and she doesn't remember him talking about the ring. In fact, she and her family had no idea it was even missing. "My father would be tickled pink to get the ring back, he hated to lose anything," Cannon-Hewitt said.

For now, the ring will go in a safe place with Cannon's other memorabilia. Cannon has deep roots in Monroe, besides attending its university; he was an orthopedic surgeon and started the Orthopedic Clinic in the city.

Though the class ring was found and returned a few weeks ago, Linder is still amazed that it all happened.

"I was just replacing the flower bed, that bed had been there for 10 years. I dug it up, got 10-12 inches deep and put my bricks around it, and had to rework it a little bit and I found the ring," she said.

"I feel like that's why I found it- it needed to go back to the original owner- or at least to the family members. So that's all I wanted was to find the family members and get it back to them," Linder said.

As a coincidence, ULM recently unveiled the first official university class ring. Pam Shepherd, Director of Alumni Relations at ULM, says this discovery shows the importance of a university ring.

"We are thrilled that this ring was found and reunited with the owner's family. Class rings are a symbol of the time one spends on higher education," Shepherd said. "Now all ULM students past, present and future will be able to capture their time at ULM with the official university ring," Shepherd said.

"This story further emphasizes the ULM ring committee's motto, 'One ring, one university, connected for life'," Shepard said.

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