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Graduating Notre Dame Senior Wins Jeopardy! Challenge

Patrick Tucker kicked off commencement weekend by celebrating another accomplishment: winning the Jeopardy! College Championship and its $100,000 prize.

A longtime fan of the show, Tucker bested 14 fellow competitors, becoming the first Notre Dame student to win the college championship. The show aired on the Friday evening before he graduated.

Tucker, a political science major, clinched victory after listening to the following answer: “This New Englander began building his house in March 1845. Later he wrote it cost $28.12 cents.” The correct question: “Who is Thoreau?”

His win followed months of work to earn a spot on the show, during which he took two tests and competed in a mock game. He began taping the first of 10 episodes after spring break.

“It was exciting. I had no idea how television works, so it was interesting to experience that when we taped,” he says. “I did best on historical questions, and the toughest thing was the speed.”

This fall, Tucker will pursue a master’s degree in public policy at the College of William and Mary. He hopes to work in government, with a focus on foreign policy.

Meanwhile, he’s still deciding how to spend his winnings.

“I don’t have any concrete plans,” he says. “I’m sure a chunk of that will go to my graduate education. I might travel some overseas, maybe go back to Europe.”

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Department of Political Science

Originally published by Josh Stowe at on May 21, 2009.