Alex Trebek held a philosophy degree from the U of O. Photo: Jeopardy!/Facebook.
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The former Jeopardy! host graduated in 1961

University of Ottawa alumnus and host of popular television game show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, has died at the age of 80 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. The news was confirmed by the game show on Sunday. 

Following the news, the university expressed its condolences on Twitter: “It is with great sadness that uOttawa acknowledges the passing of Alex Trebek, one of our most beloved alumni and one of our community’s most passionate supporters. Our heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife Jean and their children Emily and Matthew.”

Best known for his 36 years hosting Jeopardy! in the United States, Trebek graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Ottawa in 1961. He was also a member of the English Debating Society.

The University of Ottawa Student’s Union (UOSU) also released a statement summarizing Trebek’s impact on the U of O community, highlighting his philanthropic legacy in the form of the U of O Alex Trebek Alumni Hall and the Alex Trebek Leadership Award, for an “undergraduate student having demonstrated exceptional community leadership skills.” 

“For 36 years, he brought a smile to curious students and families across North America through his wit and sense of humour, and inspired many by continuing the host the show through a devastating cancer diagnosis.” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s advocacy commissioner, in the union’s statement to the Fulcrum. 

“For all of his accomplishments and for representing what it means to be a uOttawa alumni so well, we are grateful.” 

Amongst the U of O community and beyond, Trebek was a beloved public figure both on and off campus, known for his generosity and vast breadth of knowledge.

Trebek began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984, and charmed viewers around the world with his good-natured sense of humour and on-air charisma ever since. His final episode of the show will air on Christmas Day 2020.

The Fulcrum extends our sincerest condolences to the Trebek family and those impacted by Trebek’s death. Students in need of support during this time are encouraged to use the SASS counselling services.