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St. Norbert College faculty member to appear on Jeopardy!

Jeopardy host, Ken Jennings, at left, and Ben Chan, assistant professor of philosophy at St. Norbert College. The show will air on April 12. Submitted photo

By Kris Leonhardt


DE PERE – A St. Norbert College faculty member will be featured on an April episode of the television game show, Jeopardy!.

St. Norbert College Assistant Professor of Philosophy Ben Chan will appear on the April 12 episode.

Made famous by Alex Trebek, who hosted about 8,000 episodes, Jeopardy! is now co-hosted by actress, Mayim Bialik and former show contestant, Ken Jennings, who had the longest-running winning streak of 74 games.

Chan said that his interest in the show was the result of an online trivia league, where members face off during a competitive season.

“In June, a friend of mine introduced me to an online trivia competition called LearnedLeague, and I really enjoyed it.  I saw that I was often beating people who had won on Jeopardy!. It made me think, ‘why not me?’” Chan recalled.

A few months after starting to pursue the opportunity, which can be completed online, Chan got a call to be on the show and then began the training process.

“I had an amazing training buddy — Greg Shahade — a world-class chess player who has gotten into trivia. (He) made sure I prepared well. I played a few hundred practice games using the database of old Jeopardy! episodes at j-archive.com and made a ton of flashcards on my phone — over 2,500,” Chan stated.

Chan said that he enjoyed the experience and emphasized the importance of luck while competing.

“The most unexpected thing was that I wasn’t at all nervous during the game. It was so fun, and it goes by so fast. I don’t remember 95% of the clues that I saw,” he said.

“There is a ton of luck involved in the results, so you need to love the everything else about it — the studying, meeting other contestants, representing your community, being invited into millions of living rooms around the country — to have a good experience.”

He is now looking forward to sharing the results of his time on the show, which he is not permitted to divulge before it airs.

“It’s been a few months since I taped, and I am so excited to be able to finally share my experience with my neighbors. Green Bay has been so good to me, and I hope I make y’all proud,” he said.

The show will air Wednesday, April 12 at 6 p.m. on FOX 11

A watch party will be held for St. Norbert students, faculty and staff in the Mulva Library, 310 College Ave., De Pere, in the first-floor flex space, with Chan present.

What’s next for Chan?

“The producers of Jeopardy! are placing a lot of importance on the postseason tournaments now —Second Chance, Tournament of Champions, etc. — and I think it would be extra special to be able to play in one of those,” he said.

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