Tipton endows 'working student' fund
A Lancaster businessman who owns restaurants in central Ohio and beyond recently established a $45,000 endowment to provide an annual scholarship for students at Ohio University Lancaster and Pickerington Center who work their way through college.
Larry Tipton said he didn't go to college, but he learned the value of hard work in the 1970s and 1980s while pursuing his musical dreams in the bluegrass and country rock band, the Pleasant Mountain Boys, and ultimately made it to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
Tipton, 59, now owns Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in Lancaster, Canal Winchester, Heath, Reynoldsburg and Athens, as well as in Arizona.
He said he continues to be inspired by his wife, MaryBeth, who finished her college degree while raising two children and working full time.
"She is a shining example of how someone who is willing to work hard can be successful, despite the odds," he said.
He also was inspired by his grandfather and father, who worked 45 years and 37 years, respectively, in their chosen professions.
The Larry E. Tipton Working Student Scholarship will be awarded annually to one student at OU Lancaster or the OU Pickerington Center who works a full- or part-time job at the time he or she applies for the scholarship, and who also has a strong recommendation from a current employer.
The scholarship will be eligible to students who graduated from a high school in Fairfield County or a contiguous county, and who major in business, education, communications or marketing.
Tipton said he isn't sure yet about the size of the annual award, but said it will be enough "to cover approximately half of the tuition for a full-time student, with the theory being that by working part-time, a person could cover the other half of their tuition, given that the scholarship requires that the student be working while attending school."
He said he set up the endowment because he wants to help younger generations pursue educational and professional dreams and he wanted to reward those who put in work beyond the classroom to achieve those goals.
"I wanted to be part of helping young people who can't afford the tuition, but are willing to work for that help," he said.
Tipton established the gift to OU Lancaster and Pickerington Center through the university's Promise Lives Campaign, a $450 million effort launched this summer to support scholarships, faculty, student experiences and community outreach.
Thus far, university officials said last week, the campaign has raised more than $399 million in support its goals.
"I have had several family members attend OU Lancaster, and it is truly a place that makes a difference in the lives of its students every day," Tipton said. "The Promise Lives Campaign provided an opportunity for me to focus on providing opportunities for students in our community and to give back in a way that will, hopefully, live on forever."
The first Larry E. Tipton Working Student Scholarship will be awarded this fall, university officials said.
Those interested in applying should call the Student Services Office at Ohio University Lancaster at 740-654-6711, ext. 215.
The Promise Lives Campaign will run through June 2015. For more information about the campaign or about donating to it, visit ohio.edu/lancaster, call Mandi Custer at 740-654-6711, ext. 234, or email custera@ ohio.edu.