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Ken Jennings, Greatest ‘Jeopardy!’ Player of All Time visits SIU

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CARBONDALE (WSIL) — What if I said the Greatest ‘Jeopardy’ Player of all time was in Carbondale Thursday night?

I’d say, who is Ken Jennings?

“King of Trivia Nation,” author and game show host, Ken Jennings gave a speech at the Shryock Auditorium at SIU. He was originally scheduled to come last March for the university’s 150th anniversary, but had to postpone due to the pandemic.

He tells News 3 he’s excited to be back at speaking events.

“I got to hang out with students. We played a little SIU themed Jeopardy and I didn’t know any of the answers. I’m terrible at Saluki trivia it turns out,” he said.

His speech was about the importance of education, knowledge in the age of artificial intelligence and what education could look like in another 150 years. He also let the audience ask questions at the end.

“I like speaking at universities because like education means a lot to me, it changed my life. Even when I was a kid, that was the thing that I was passionate about. Learning stuff. If I’m remembering right, SIU I think is celebrating its 150th anniversary lately and they’re looking ahead to another 150 years of what education is gonna be like and I don’t know why on earth you would ask a game show contestant to try to answer that question, but I’m going to give it a shot,” he said.

If you’re wondering who’s hosting Jeopardy for the rest of the year, the show announced Jennings will split cohosting duties with Mayim Bialik.

“Being asked to continue to guest host Jeopardy is a great honor, I take it very seriously because the show has always meant a lot to me. I used to run home from school everyday to watch Jeopardy, it’s always been my favorite show,” he said.

After the speech, Jennings held a book signing.

He says his new book “Planet Funny” highlights how comedy is used in different settings.

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