April 16, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 14

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    Law School alumnus Dan Pawson wins big on TV’s ‘2009 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions’

    By Sarah Galer
    News Office

    Photo courtesy of Jeopardy! Productions

    Dan Pawson, a 2006 Law School graduate, became the fifth most-winning contestant in “Jeopardy!” history as the winner of the 2009 Tournament of Champions. “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek gestures that Pawson is No. 1 in this tournament.

    Dan Pawson, a 2006 Law School alumnus, won TV’s “2009 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions” in March, taking home $250,000.

    Pawson earned a place in the Tournament of Champions by becoming the fifth most-winning participant in the history of “Jeopardy!”, accumulating $170,902 in a nine-day streak in 2008.

    The 2009 Tournament of Champions served up a nail-biting finish when Pawson came from behind in the Final “Jeopardy!” round by correctly answering a question on British Royalty that the game leader got wrong: “Born in 1683, the second British king of this name was the last one not born in the British isles.” (Correct answer: “What is George?”)

    Pawson said his three years at the Law School helped prepare him for his big win.

    “In my Tournament of Champions semifinal, there was a category entirely about the World Court, which I swept, and in which I got a $5,000 Daily Double. I had taken three international law classes in law school, so I was about as prepared for that as I could possibly get.”
    However, there was one law-related question that he missed—a $2,000 question on how many articles are in the U.S. Constitution.

    “It is to my everlasting shame that I answered six instead of the correct answer (seven). I just started counting them in my head—Congress, executive, judiciary, full faith and credit, supremacy, amendments—but the ratification article slipped my mind. I am never going to forgive myself for that.”
    The University made a strong showing in this year’s tournament. Not only did Pawson walk away the champion of champions, Erik Nelson, a current graduate student, made it to the quarterfinals.

    Also, George Beadle, who served as the University’s President in the 1960s, and who won a 1958 Nobel Prize for studying the genetics of bread mold, was featured in the finale’s Double “Jeopardy!” round.

    Pawson, a legislative aide to Massachusetts state senator Bruce Tarr, plans to use his winnings to build up his down payment for a home, give to charity, pay off student loans and take a trip to Europe with his family.