Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Past UMass senior honored Friday night

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Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

A candlelit vigil was held to honor 21-year-old Meghan Beebe, who died shortly after she was run over and dragged by a car on Dec. 28. On Friday, friends and family gathered at the Campus Center to share memories of Beebe, who studied sociology at the University of Massachusetts.

Beebe was vice president of the sociology club, a volunteer at the Center for Women’s sexual assault crisis hotline and an intern at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction in Northampton. To read her full obituary, go to www.dailycollegian.com.

Amy Luskin will never forget the moment that she met Beebe in their Psychology of Love class. Luskin was feeling down that day, and hadn’t planned on talking to anyone. She was sitting quietly at her desk when Beebe entered and sat down next to her.

“My name’s Meg, what’s your name?” Beebe said to Luskin.

Beebe’s unexpected greeting delighted Luskin. She recalled how lonely she was feeling, and how Beebe’s friendliness had meant so much to her.

“I was actually going through a rough time with my friends,” she said.

Although Beebe was a stranger, she made Luskin feel like someone cared about her, and that’s something that Luskin will always remember.

“I think of her when I feel alone,” Luskin said.

Beebe’s outgoing personality was a common theme in the stories that friends and family shared during her memorial.

Beebe’s roommate, Michelle Shabo, had a similar experience and remembered meeting Beebe at a party when she was feeling sad. Shabo was sitting on the couch when Beebe sat down next to her.

“Hey I’m Meg. You’re gonna be my best friend tonight,” she said to Shabo, and the two became best friends and later, roommates.

Beebe’s ex-boyfriend, Keith Sacenti, also recalled his first encounter with Beebe. He met her at a UMass freshman orientation session. He had just gotten knee surgery two weeks before, so he sat out from all the getting-to-know-you games. He was alone when Beebe sat down next to him.

“Hi, I’m Meg,” she said to him. “You had ACL surgery. My mom had the same surgery.”

“She was completely fearless,” Sacenti told the group.

He admitted that he was attracted to her from the start. “I can imagine dating that girl. She’s awesome,” he thought to himself as she walked away.

Sacenti told the group that he spent every day with Beebe for about three years.

“She was a magnet. She just brought everyone together,” he said.

George Swepson, a friend of Beebe’s family, remembered her creativity in the kitchen and called her “the Julia Child of cooking,” and said that her mother was the same way.

“She would make people around her happy,” he said. “She’s smiling on us, and she’s not going to let us forget her.”

Alyssa Lewandowski knew Beebe for about four months. She met her at a party where neither of them was drinking. They decided to start going to church together, and Lewandowski fondly remembered picking her up before church every Sunday. They used to bake together too, and Beebe showed her the fantasy TV show “Merlin.”

“She let me be my inner nerd,” Lewandowski said.

One time, Lewandowski was feeling upset about a friend who had passed away in November, so she called up Beebe for support. Beebe invited her over to make paper snowflakes, and of course she had cookies to serve.

“She would always drop everything she was doing to help you,” Lewandowski said.

Shabo, Beebe’s roommate, remembered taking a difficult organic chemistry exam and arriving home late at night feeling like a failure.

When she got in her room, she found an entire platter of cookies on her bed with a note that read, “Dearest roomie, I just want you to know I’m so proud of you.”

Shabo was deeply touched by Beebe’s thoughtful gesture, and it’s something that she’ll never forget.

Many others remembered Beebe for her compassionate behavior. She poured her energy into making others feel happy and loved, whether they were close friends or new acquaintances.

Beebe’s legacy will live on through the Meghan Beebe Memorial Fund and a campership fund at YMCA Camp Mataucha, where she was a counselor last year.

“She always put fears aside to help other people,” Sacenti said. “We’ll remember what Meg’s done for us.”

Mary Reines can be reached at [email protected]

 

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