"I was playing volleyball on the Owens sand court, which was something I did fairly often. I had set my sandals, shirt, watch, and ring by the post so that I could play. When finished, I went to gather my things and saw that the ring was missing," Leschinskey said in a post on Virginia Tech's website.
Leschinskey said he and his friends scoured the area but were unable to locate the lost item.
"My things didn't appear disturbed, so I assumed it was stolen," Leschinskey said. "I had just gotten the ring a little bit before, so I didn't have it long. To add insult to injury, I paid for my class ring and that money was lost."
The school said a heavy equipment crew was working on volleyball court drainage improvements in January when worker Pat Saylors spotted a shiny object in the dislocated dirt.
"As I was excavating the area, I saw what appeared to be a ring. We stopped operations to get a closer look, and sure enough -- it was," Saylors said. "I wanted to make sure the owner was reunited with his ring. There was the name 'John Leschinskey' engraved on the inside, so I looked for him on social media."
Leschinskey said news of his ring's rediscovery after so many years came as a surprise.
"I was puzzled at first. I was also shocked to hear from them," Leschinskey said. "Most people would not have gone through the trouble to hunt someone down to return a ring."
The ring was mailed to Leschinskey, who now lives in North Carolina.
"When it arrived, I looked at it and found it hard to believe that it was actually recovered and returned to me. Given all the years in the sand and outdoors it looks like it's in really good condition," Leschinskey said. "It's good to see that there are still honest and decent people out in the world."