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William & Mary alumna topples reigning 'Jeopardy!' champion

  • New champion
    New champion  Diana Peloquin '08 ousted a reigning 11-game champion on the popular quiz-show Jeopardy! She is pictured with the show's host, Alex Trebek.  Courtesy image
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Diana Peloquin started building her lead early.  The Class of 2008 alumna appeared Wednesday night as a contestant on the popular quiz- show "Jeopardy!" and ended up ousting 11-day champion Arthur Chu who had garnered national attention for his 11-day run on the program.

Peloquin, a history major at the College, tackled categories from “CEO Compensation” to “Italian Adjectives” during the show. By the end of the first round, she was ahead in the score, aided by a correct answer in a “Daily Double” question. She gave the Tribe a shout-out during the talk segment with the show’s host, Alex Trebek.

“I started synchronized swimming freshman year of college as a member of the William & Mary Mermettes,” Peloquin told Trebek. “So I traded in my regular high school competition suit for a sparkly swimsuit and gelatined hair.”

In addition to her participation with the Mermettes, a synchronized swimming club, Peloquin was also involved in music on campus, playing with the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra.

Peloquin fell behind in the second round, but another successful “Daily Double” answer put her back in the lead. The competitors traded the lead throughout the round, but Peloquin had a comfortable lead going into "Final Jeopardy."

The Final Jeopardy category – British Royalty – proved a good one for Peloquin. Her correct response beat out Chu and middle school librarian Julie Hornick. Chu had amassed nearly $300,000 in winnings in recent weeks on the show.

Peloquin is currently a law and social work graduate student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In October 2013, she was named one of 11 Dean's Public Service Fellows for 2014. The Dean’s Fellows program recognizes second-year students who have a demonstrated commitment to public service.

She’s not the first member of the Tribe to compete on "Jeopardy!" Just last fall, Patrick Dillon ’04 competed in the show's Teachers Tournament. They both join a proud list of other William & Mary alumni, faculty and students that have appeared on the program, including Zachary McDonnell ’15, who appeared in the College Championship in 2012, and Associate Professor of English Colleen Kennedy, who appeared on the program in 2010.

Will Peloquin top Chu’s 11-game winning streak? Watch tonight, March 13, on ABC affiliates. Check your local listings for the time.