A late Northsider’s legacy promises to live on, thanks to the efforts of a grieving brother and gifts from the community.
Nearly enough money has been raised to endow the Benson Reed Ingram Scholarship at Ole Miss.
Even with that milestone reached, family members hope to raise additional funds to contribute to the endowment to not only honor Ben, but students like him.
So far, more than $20,000 has been raised. To be endowed at the University of Mississippi, $25,000 is needed.
“It’s amazing so many people have contributed. A lot of people contributed who didn’t even know Ben, but (his) story resonated with them,” said Lee Ingram, Ben’s twin brother. “That makes me feel good.”
The scholarship fund was boosted by a gift from Ben and Lee’s late grandmother, Aline Spotts, who passed away on September 24, the brothers’ birthday.
Ben committed suicide in 2017, a year after graduating from the University of Mississippi. As a junior, he was accepted into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, but was not eligible for a scholarship.
Honors college scholarships are only awarded to incoming freshmen, but are required to complete the same rigorous coursework, including writing an honors thesis.
The Ingram scholarship will be awarded to students who decide to buckle down later in their academic careers.
“It’s awesome to reach our first goal, but we want to make it as big as we can,” Lee said. “I would love to give two scholarships a year, or even more.”
To raise additional funds, Lee has established a website, where visitors can purchase “Dreams about Food: Short Stories by Ben Ingram and Friends.”
The book features Ben’s surviving writings, including his honors thesis. It also includes stories from Ben’s friends.
Lee also hopes to set up a creative writing competition at Ole Miss in his late brother’s honor and hold readings of Ben’s works.
He said publishing the book and raising funds has helped in the grieving process.
“I’m always going to do something for him,” Lee said, saying that he also wants to curb the stigma of suicide. “Suicide paints a bad light on a person, and he’s a lot better than what happened to him.”
For more information, log on to dreamsaboutfood.com.