What Is a Winner?

Student Takes Jeopardy $$

The answer is: "Harvard sophomore who is a year's tuition richer."

The question: "Who is Eric Biber?"

Eric G. Biber '95 won $19,100 in the Jeopardy College Championship Finals which aired last Thursday and Friday on CBS.

In the finals of the championship, which consisted of two full games, rules were altered and contestants could keep all the money they earned. The winner also received a Dodge convertible.

Biber competed against students from Princeton University and Grinnell College. The contestant from Grinnell won the championships, amassing a total of about $28,000.


Biber began the competition strongly with a correct first question, but he experienced a slump during the rest of the first round and started Double Jeopardy with only $1,000.

Biber came back in Double Jeopardy, practically sweeping the 'Lakes and Rivers' category. "I really like geography a lot," he said.

By Final Jeopardy, Biber had $7,000 and his correct question to the final answer, in the category of 'World Capitals,' raised his total to $10,500. Biber's final question to the answer, "Roxas Boulevard in this capital city was formerly Dewey Boulevard," was "What is Manila?"

On the second day, Biber upped his earnings from $10,500 to $19,100. He said he will save most of it, using some for tuition and spending money.

Fellow Dunster House residents have other ideas for how to use his money, however. Ajitha L. Reddy '94 thought he should use it "to have a good time."

Amy N. Finklestein '95 said "he should buy me dinner."

The application process for College Jeopardy began last summer when interested students sent in postcards with their names. The first "cut" was a random selection of students to invite to tryouts in November.

Four Harvard students, Biber, Sandra E. Cha '96, Jean-Marc C. Rocher '94 and Todd S. Kim '94, were picked to attend tryouts, in New York City for students from this area.

The three Harvard students who passed the written test proceeded to the final phase of the process, which consisted of personal interviews and mock competitions.

Fifteen competitors were picked from the 250 who reached the final phase. Cha said that they were told that the final pick considered diversity of schools, geographic regions, class years and ethnicity.

Biber said he "didn't prepare all that much" and that he "doesn't watch the show all that regularly." Biber and the other two students who reached the final phase, though, had all competed in trivia teams during high school.

Biber's advice to those interested in being on Jeopardy is to "keep trying." Rocher has similar sentiments and said that you shouldn't "get discouraged [if you don't make it]."

Cha said that "you should know how want to present yourself...I went in [to the interviews] as a confused freshman, and I think it hurt my chances." Cha and Rocher both plan to try out again next year