On the world’s most famous gameshow, Dr. Philip Tiu, Professor of Mathematics at Oglethorpe University, became a big time Jeopardy! Champion from March 14-16, before admitting defeat on the March 17 episode. Of the hundreds of stars on the popular long-running show, few have had the lucrative rewards, daring strategy, homespun humor and endearing qualities of Philip Tiu. His TV exposure gained a huge social media following, making him a worldwide sensation.
Philip said the highlight of his run was the pivotal second game episode. He boldly doubled a $19,000 wager to the prompt: “The country’s busiest port, this southwestern Canadian city is about 15 miles from the U.S. border.” Unsure if the answer was Victoria or Vancouver, Tiu hesitated until the last moment. The suspense was palpable. According to the rules answered haltingly with the question, “What is Vancouver?” He was correct and pandemonium reigned in the studio and in a massive TV audience.
Philip later became the toast of Vancouver, vowing in Canadian interviews that he would “kiss the ground” of the city whenever he visits a first time. Fans loved his endearing human interest elements and Philip regaled them with tales of the family’s “ferocious” terrier dog, Mr. Coco, who became a star too.
And when asked what he would do with his record $96,598 in winnings, Philip Tiu, ever humble, won everybody’s hearts by saying he will pay off his mortgage and help his Mom in the Philippines- and he’ll send copies of this Brookhaven Buzz issue back home.
Paul Hudson, longtime resident of Brookhaven and columnist for the Buzz, was for years an Oglethorpe friend and colleague of Dr. Philip Tiu.