College of Science alumnus exits 'Jeopardy!' with third-highest total winnings

Roger Craig (right) and Alex Trebek

Roger Craig (right) and game show host Alex Trebek (Photo courtesy "Jeopardy!" Productions, Inc.)

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 23, 2010 – Update: Virginia Tech College of Science alumnus Roger Craig ended his reign as the show's champion Sept. 21, amassing a seven-day total of $231,200 in cash winnings. The 33-year-old graduate student at the University of Delaware earned a prominent place in the show's history by becoming the third highest winning contestant on the quiz show (excluding tournaments), right behind Ken Jennings ($2,520,700) and David Madden ($430,400).

“I had no idea that I became the third highest winner until Alex Trebek announced it," Craig said in an interview following his final match. "I was totally shocked. It obviously helped by having set the highest single game record and by my large Daily Double bets.”

A native of Newark, Del., Craig will earn a Ph.D. in computer science this fall.  He plans to use the money to pay off school loans, buy a new car, travel and donate to charity.

 When asked about his success on “Jeopardy!,” Craig said, “My mother taught me how to read and encouraged my passion for learning. I’m also very grateful to every teacher I’ve had -- from kindergarten to grad school.”

College of Science alumnus sets new record on 'Jeopardy!'

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 16, 2010 -- Roger Craig, from Newark, Del., a 1999 graduate with two bachelor's degrees (one in biological sciences and one in biochemistry), broke the one-day total earnings record previously held by Ken Jennings. Jennings eventually went on to earn a spot in the show’s record books by appearing on 74 episodes and winning more than $3 million in 2004. Jennings’ highest one-day total was $75,000. At press time, Craig won $77,000 on Tuesday night, giving him a combined two-day total of $114,000.

Craig is currently earning his Ph.D. in computer and information sciences at the University of Delaware. Craig auditioned unsuccessfully for the "Jeopardy! Teen Tournament" when he was in junior high school and tried out for the show as an adult three times since 2006 before being selected as a contestant. The syndicated game show has been airing since 1984 and has won 28 Emmy Awards over the years.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.