SHSU comes out on top in trivia challenge

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A: Basic or elementary knowledge that comes from the word trivium meaning grammar, logic and rhetoric.

Q: What is trivia?

Defensive trivia was the subject of Ken Jennings’ Presidential Speaker Series Tuesday afternoon in the Criminal Justice Center’s Killinger Auditorium.

According to Jennings’ bio, he is the all-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champion. He appeared on the show over 70 times and made television history as the “All-Time Top TV Game Show Winner in the World,” winning a record $2.35 million.

Jennings spoke to students, faculty, staff and community members about various subjects ranging from ‘Jeopardy!’ rules and regulations to how he knows what he knows. President Gaertner introduced Jennings with a warm welcome saying, “it is certainly an amazing achievement and should be recognized, [and] it is really a pleasure to have [him] on our campus today.”

Jennings chose to come to Sam Houston instead of appearing on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’

“I was worried about saying no to Oprah,” said Jennings.

Jennings said the ‘Jeopardy!’ show will not let anyone say the “T-word” trivia.

“I think it has something to do with the fact of being related to the word trivial,” said Jennings.

The definition refers to basic, general knowledge and he believes the show thinks they are more of a “quiz show.”

Jennings told the audience about some of his favorite facts. He said true facts are stranger than fictional ones.

“I think trivia is important, [and] all knowledge is value,” said Jennings.

“Trivia is a way to get people interested in subjects they may not [ordinarily] interested in,” said Jennings.

He said if everyone in the world knew more of the same things, mostly just general knowledge, there would be less division in the world.

Jennings found humor in almost every sentence he uttered. He mentioned that the most popular question he is asked by people is how he knows all the stuff he knows.

“There is no real secret,” said Jennings. “Reading is great, but you can be learning everywhere, [and] you learn from everything around you.”

Jennings said he is always learning whether he is watching his favorite television show, ‘The Simpsons,’ flipping through a magazine at the dentist office or just having dinner with his wife.

“Every hour of everyday there is something to learn,” said Jennings.

Students at the event also had an opinion about the great game show winner.

“I was pleasantly surprised [because] he was interesting and funny,” said senior Lia Merryman.

“I found him refreshingly humorous [and] it was nice to listen to someone with that much success and not be so serious,” said senior Michelle Branch.

But with anything in life, “all good things must come to an end.”

Jennings lost the chance to continue on ‘Jeopardy!’ when he answered the final question wrong about H & R Block. When asked how he felt, surprisingly, he said he was relieved because for months he had to keep his winnings a secret and he finally knew how everything was going to end.

But his game show days weren’t over yet. Jennings competed against two teams from SHSU in a match of “Can you beat Ken Jennings?” Team Orange consisted of Dr. Don Bumpass, Anela Leon-Guerrero, Paul Levine and Rob Weesner as the alternate. Team Blue consisted of Dr. Richard Bello, Grant Keener, Sean Fennel and Rob Howard as the alternate. Dr. Frank Fair was the SHSU version of Alex Trebeck.

The three rounds consisted of five questions all with various subject topics. Round one contained a lot of knowledge, we as college students, might have learned in basic classes. However, Jennings didn’t come in on top. Team Orange didn’t miss a single question in round one. Team Blue and Jennings both missed two questions.

In the end, Team Orange came out on top with 1,100 points. Jennings and Team Blue each had 900 points. It just goes to show that students and professors are just as smart as the “All-Time Top TV Game Show Winner in the World.”