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Friday, Aug 22, 2014

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Lancaster businessman Larry Tipton — shown here with Mandi Custer, development coordinator for Ohio University Lancaster Campus — recently committed to funding a scholarship for working students studying on the Lancaster Campus.

Photo courtesy of: Lancaster Campus

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Lancaster businessman endows working student scholarship

Larry Tipton hopes $45,000 scholarship teaches students about work and the value of an education


Larry Tipton believes that hard work is a key ingredient to success, which led to his decision to endow a $45,000 scholarship at the Ohio University Lancaster Campus and Pickerington Center.

The Larry E. Tipton Working Student Scholarship is designed around a student with a strong work ethic.

“I wanted to be a part of helping young people who can’t afford the tuition, but are willing to work for that help,” said Tipton. “One of the inspirations for this scholarship is my wife, MaryBeth. She finished her 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.”

Tipton grew up in Lancaster and began his career as a professional musician, playing guitar as the front man in a three-generation bluegrass/country rock band – the Pleasant Mountain Boys. After winning a talent show in 1977, the band went on to tour, made several records, headlined with legendary country musicians and performed at the prestigious Grand Ole Opry. In June 1988, after being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug through his work in the entertainment industry, Tipton opened and successfully operated several local businesses. He now owns five Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Ohio in Lancaster, Heath, Canal Winchester, Reynoldsburg, and Athens, as well as two locations in Arizona. He never attended college but put in long hours and was determined to succeed.

“My higher education has been experience and hard work. I didn’t go to college, but chose to join the work force,” said Tipton. “I came from a hard working family. My grandfather worked 45 years at Anchor Hocking. My dad worked 37 years in the insurance industry before he retired. And, now I encourage my children to work as they pursue their degrees.”

Tipton says he realizes the importance of having both a strong work ethic and a college education in today’s job market.

“So many kids complete their college degree but don’t understand what it takes to be employable. You need to know how to be at work on time and how to be a good employee in addition to the knowledge and skills of your chosen profession,” said Tipton. “Without those skills, you are really lacking as an individual who can go and compete in the job market. I think it’s important to get work experience along with the needed education.”

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be working a full-time or part-time job at the time of the application process and have a strong recommendation from a current employer. The scholarship is open to students who graduated from a high school within Fairfield County or contiguous counties. The student must major in business, education, communications or marketing.

“A lot of my employees tell me they didn’t have the opportunity to go to school because of finances,” said Tipton. “This is my opportunity to help local students get their education locally. I’m looking forward to seeing that first student selected. I want to follow their progress and to see their goals, and my vision, actually become reality.”

The gift supports Ohio University’s The Promise Lives Campaign, a $450 million campaign to support scholarships, faculty, the student experience, facilities, and community outreach. So far, the Campaign has raised more than $406 million in support of these priorities. The Campaign ends in June 2015.

On the Lancaster Campus, the goal is to raise $3.5 million in order to expand educational opportunities that spur business growth in Fairfield County. The campus already has secured $1.8 million in support toward the Campaign.

To learn more about The Promise Lives Campaign or to make a donation, visit www.ohio.edu/lancaster or contact Mandi Custer at custera@ohio.edu or 740-654-6711 ext. 234.