It is with great sadness that Texas Quiz Bowl Alliance (TQBA) announces the passing of Candace Benefiel following a fight with cancer. Candace worked with TQBA as a mentor and advisor since its founding and served as faculty sponsor of the Texas A&M Quiz Bowl program. She moderated hundreds of tournaments over the course of her decades-long quiz bowl career, with her final appearances coming at the 2016 Prep Bowl and HoHoHo.
Candace was the faculty sponsor of the Texas A&M Quiz Bowl program for 30 years (1987-2017). She began working with the A&M teams during the College Bowl era and helped the program transition to the modern NAQT/ACF era in the late 1990’s. During the early years, she served as College Bowl Regional Coordinator, and during the mid-1990’s she was instrumental in orchestrating the student development efforts that set in motion the events that would eventually lead to the founding of the Texas Quiz Bowl Alliance in 2003.
Candace was an Associate Professor and Humanities Librarian for the Evans Library at Texas A&M University. She was a graduate of Brazoswood High School (’75), Rice University (Classics ’79), the University of Texas at Austin (Library Science ’81), and West Texas State University (English ’89). In 2000, Candace began course work towards a Ph.D. in English and joined the Texas A&M Graduate student quiz bowl team.
Candace’s team would place in the top five of the Academic Competition Federation National Tournament five times (2003-2007) and win the tournament in 2006. Candace’s team was the first ACF Champion to include two female players. It was Candace’s buzz on the last tossup (George Bernard Shaw’s play Caesar and Cleopatra) of the last match of the final series against the University of Michigan that allowed the Aggies to celebrate one of the most surprising victories in ACF history.
Candace is survived by dozens of students and colleagues whose lives she positively impacted. Candace cared, sacrificed, challenged, and humored. Year after year, Candace gave her time to mentor and mold young adults. Candace was our voice of reason, our “I can’t believe you said that” adult, our diplomat, our perspective, and our cheerleader. Candace was our friend and will be missed.
Texas Quiz Bowl is grateful for Candace’s years of service and in commemoration of her contributions, Texas Quiz Bowl will dedicate the Candace Benefiel rotating trophy in her honor on March 24, 2018. The trophy will be awarded annually to Texas Quiz Bowl’s top middle grades team.