By Justin Kresse
If the contestant on the popular TV game show “Jeopardy!” on March 27 looked familiar, that’s because she is Adelphi Honors College Associate Dean Nicole Rudolph. And she did more than just appear: SHE WON!
Rudolph watches the show almost every night alongside her family, she said. She shared that her son was the one who encouraged her to take the Anytime Test on the website so she would “stop yelling answers at the television every night.” After a lengthy review process, she was part of the 0.5 percent selected to go on the show. She was scheduled during Adelphi’s fall break in October. However, a brush with Covid almost caused her to miss out. Luckily, she said, they were able to be flexible in their scheduling and allowed her to tape at the beginning of January instead.
The episode with Rudolph aired on Monday, March 27. She competed alongside contestants Kevin Manning from Kansas City, Missouri and Tamara Ghattas from Chicago. The categories were tough, but she led the game with $16,800 when Final Jeopardy rolled around. The question – “The name of this pungent gaseous compound is ultimately derived from the top god of the ancient Egyptians” – was tough, but Rudolph bet zero dollars and was able to secure the win.
This of course meant that she would be on the next episode of “Jeopardy!,” airing on March 28. In this episode, Rudolph played against Lisa Sriken from New York City and Mara Lasko from Washington, DC. Rudolph was winning going into the final once again; however she wasn’t as lucky this time, with Sriken winning the game by correctly guessing the Port Authority in response to the question: “This public agency runs the USA’s busiest bus terminal, opened in 1950 for commuters awed by its polished steel and stone.”
Still, Rudolph was very happy with her time on the show. She said, “I wanted to show students that there is no shame in giving the wrong answer or even in asking the wrong question! If I can do it in front of 3.5 million people and live to tell the tale, I would hope that [students] feel comfortable in the much smaller and supportive setting of our classrooms.”
Resident Assistant Miguel Velasquez set up an event in the Waldo Hall’s common area on March 27 to watch the episode air. Julia Smith, a senior in the Honors College, attended the event and said that having a “Jeopardy!” watch party “to honor one of our deans will stick out in my memory as a collective way our student body has been proud to know and study under an amazing professor.”
While they were having fun watching on campus, however, Rudolph was happy to be at home watching the show with her family like usual – the only exception being of course that this time they all were pretty familiar with at least one contestant.
Throughout the process, Rudolph said, going on “Jeopardy!” was actually less stressful than she expected it to be. She said all the contestants were extremely supportive of each other, and she even made friends with another contestant who lives on Long Island in Roslyn Heights. She mentioned that Ken Jennings, who was the host for the episodes she competed on, “wears a hoodie and Vans just like the rest of us when he’s not in a suit.”
Rudolph has worked at Adelphi since 2009. She joined the honors college as academic director in 2018 and became associate dean in 2021.