Jeopardy! champ Jennings to speak at SIU

This best-selling author, trivia whiz and multi-million-dollar prize winner is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

In true Jeopardy! style, the question for that answer is: who is Ken Jennings, the Greatest Jeopardy! Player of All Time?

Jennings is scheduled to present “The Future of Knowing Stuff: Knowledge and Learning in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” at SIU’s Shryock Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on March 27. 

Tickets are available online at 150.siu.edu/kenjennings on a first-come, first-served basis, are free.

Although tickets for Jennings’ presentation are free, seats are limited and should be claimed early, the university advised.

The guest appearance by the “King of Trivia” at SIU is in conjunction with the university’s 150th anniversary wrap-up festivities, concluding a year-long sesquicentennial celebration.

During his presentation, he will host a mini-quiz show featuring SIU students as contestants.

Afterwards, Jennings will sign copies of his book “Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture,” which will be available for sale.

Jennings recently beat two other Jeopardy! legends, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, to win $1 million and the GOAT (Greatest Jeopardy! Player of All Time) title. 

It was a prime-time, best-of-seven event in which two games were played each night with earnings totaled to choose that day’s winner.

It took Jennings just four matches to claim the title against fierce competitors. Rutter holds the record for the highest total winnings of any American game show contestant with $4,688,436, followed by Jennings and Holzhauer. Holzhauer had a 32-game winning streak in 2019 and holds the top 16 single-game scores for the game.

A Seattle native, he spent his childhood in Korea and Singapore, where his father was an attorney and young Ken faithfully watched the game show on Armed Forces Network. 

While working as a software engineer in 2004, Jennings got a call that would change his life. 

He would appear on his beloved Jeopardy! in June. The tech wizard resorted to some old-fashioned methods: flash cards and hours of study, to prepare for his appearance. It worked.

One victory led to another and he reigned as champion for six months, winning 74 games and earning $2.52 million in regular season play: both record-breaking feats for American game shows. 

He also holds the record for the highest percentage of correct responses, a remarkable 35.9 percent.

He has since gone on to host other game shows and appear in advertisements for national companies.

Jennings has also found a new career: best-selling author. He has a dozen books to his credit.

The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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