Ben Hippensteel Creativity Scholarship​​

To honor the memory of “a creative, artistic soul," the family of Benjamin Hippensteel has established a scholarship at the University of Findlay. Ben grew up in Findlay, and passed away in 2020 at the age of 42. Lucy Schwab, his sister, explained that he was a recovered alcoholic, who also worked to support the LGBTQ+ community. “Ben was very creative – with clothes, décor, cooking, and more," she explained. “His love of the arts and his creativity were amazing – that was a passion for him." For instance, he once collaborated with the Hancock County Park District in their Recycled Runway show and constructed a dress made entirely of coffee filters from Coffee Amici.

Ben also had an art studio in the Jones Building in downtown Findlay which he was very proud of, he also worked as the program director for the FOCUS Recovery and Wellness Community in Findlay. Active in the LBGTQ+ community in Findlay, he assisted the youth and worked with Spectrum in many events including Findlay Pride. He was well known in the community and beyond as the sober drag queen, Candi Wantsome. Candi hosted many Oiler Pride drag shows, supported Queens for Recovery, and spoke at many conferences on recovery and the support for LGBTQ+. “He wanted people to know they are important and that they should recognize their own value," Lucy said. “He was accepting of everyone and loved by all who knew him." His family decided to use donations made in his memory to establish the Ben Hippensteel Creativity Scholarship. It will be awarded to UF students enrolled in art studies who excel in creativity, with preference to students involved in inclusivity efforts on campus or in the community.

Lucy believes Ben would be pleased with the scholarship. “It gives people the opportunity to follow their dreams and provides help in getting where they're going. That's who he was: Ben always helped, Ben cared. "She recalled at Ben's memorial service, a woman with a disability approached her and described how she had attended a fund-raiser that Ben had organized. “At the event, he handed her a flower, and that made her feel special – and no one had ever done that for her."

Traditional and non-traditional students enrolled in at least 12 semester hours with at least a 3.00 grade point average are encouraged to apply for the scholarship. Recipients may be in the freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate year of study at UF.