Ever since he could answer the $200 questions at age 10, Patrick Tucker said, it’s been a childhood dream of his to appear on “Jeopardy!” He did more than that recently – the soon-to-be William & Mary graduate student not only appeared on the show but took home $100,000 for winning the 2009 Jeopardy! College Championship. The finals were broadcast on May 15.
“I thought I was done for going into … ‘Double Jeopardy’ of the last game,” Tucker said in the show’s online video blog. “I got lucky with the presidents (category). That is just my forte.”
For a presidential history buff, Tucker is headed to the right place. He is planning to continue his studies at the nation’s second oldest college and will attend graduate school at William & Mary’s Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy. A native of St. Louis, Mo., Tucker completed his undergraduate work at Notre Dame.
“I chose William & Mary's Jefferson Program in Public Policy for its strong reputation,” Tucker said in an email following the show. “Being a political science major who wasn't resigned to law school, I wanted to apply some of the material I'd learned over the past four years. Also, a friend of mine was a recent graduate of the program and did a good job selling it.”
Tucker (back, right) with Alec Trebek (back, center) and the other 2009 College Championship contestants.The popular game show features host Alex Trebek providing contestants with answers to questions in various categories. Contestants then buzz in to provide the connecting questions. Tucker advanced through the annual college tournament, which began with 15 undergraduate students from colleges and universities from across the country. The field was eventually narrowed to the final three with Tucker winning the championship over students from Emory University and the University of Missouri.
With the win Tucker earns an automatic bid into the show’s Tournament of Champions next year. He’ll receive his $100,000 for the college championship in September. “I have no immediate plans for it,” Tucker said. “Shortly before I went to L.A., I made a list of out of the way places to visit, like Sri Lanka and the Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota. I think the latter is more feasible.” He added that friends haven’t treated him differently since news hit about the big win. “I think they may ask me to pick up a few more dinner checks, but they know I won’t be handing out any $10,000 loans any time soon,” he said.