This week, we’ll take on one of the many Jeopardy! categories I’ve always had a bit of trouble with, and one that doesn’t fit neatly into a bigger topic like science or history – institutions of higher education (especially American ones). These show up a lot in the show, but there are so many of them in the States that they’re very tough to keep track of (especially if, like me, you don’t live there). So let’s brush up on those venerable establishments with last Tuesday’s Double Jeopardy! category on at least some of them…
Jeopardy! category: COLLEGES, NOT UNIVERSITIES (22-04-2014)
$400 clue: Co-sovereigns chartered this Virginia school in 1693
The gist: Missing the distinction of being the modern United States’ first institution of higher learning by a healthy 57 years (that honour goes to Harvard), it nonetheless holds a pretty respectable position in American history, having educated 16 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence.
The College of William & Mary was founded under a royal charter from then co-regents of England, Scotland, and Ireland, King William III & II* and Queen Mary II, who had taken the throne after William’s successful 1688 invasion of the Isles, known as the Glorious Revolution. The leaders of the Virginia colony had long intended to found a university in the New World for the education of both settlers and Native Americans – although as a then-Anglican institution, and one that required students to be members of the Church of England, abandonment (at least in word) of their culture was a prerequisite for Native Americans to have access to the education provided there. It was founded in the city of Williamsburg (also named for the King), which was the colony’s capital from 1722 until 1780 when it was moved to the modern-day capital of Richmond for feat of a British attack on Williamsburg. Today, the college borders the restored historic district of Colonial Williamsburg.
The College was the alma mater of such American luminaries as third, fifth, and tenth presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler. It was closed during Civil War when all its students were drafted into the Confederate army, and served as a barracks for both sides as the territory changed hands. Today, William & Mary routinely ranks competitively against the Ivy Leagues and other top schools in the United States.
The clue: Quick and clean, this clue fits three pieces of information in a short sentence: it’s named after two monarchs, it’s in Virginia, and it was founded in the late 17th century. The biggest hint is probably the co-regents bit, but certainly that it’s in Virginia is a nice clue as well.
In Jeopardy!: The college shows up in 38 clues in the J!Archive. The two recurring themes are its state of Virginia (in 19 clues, not including those where the state is the correct response), and the school’s antiquity (the year, the century, or sometimes its first American law school). Beyond those, it’s a common response in clues about early America and the Revolution. Just don’t get it mixed up with Harvard (the country’s first) or Yale (the third, in 1701).
*He’s William III of England , Ireland and (by coincidence) the House of Orange, but William II of Scotland.