Fresno State alum wins on Jeopardy!

~ By Lisa Maria Boyles, communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities

UPDATE, June 22, 2017: Peter Guekguezian’s impressive winning streak on Jeopardy! came to an end last night. But he left with $46,800 in winnings for his four days on the popular ABC game show.

Guekguezian, 30, earned his master’s degree in linguistics from Fresno State in 2011. He recently completed his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Southern California.

Guekguezian said he began watching Jeopardy! as a baby, and has wanted to be on the show his entire life. He actually auditioned to be a contestant on the show twice previously before his successful turn earlier this year – “third time was the charm,” he said.

The shows on which Guekguezian appeared were filmed in February, and he and his wife were sworn to secrecy about the outcome until after the episodes aired, between Friday, June 16, and Wednesday, June 21.

While he was in middle school, Guekguezian made it to the national round of National Geographic’s Geography Bee two years in a row. Had he made it to the televised final round, he would have met Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek decades earlier than he did, since Trebek hosted the Geography Bee finals.

Guekguezian also participated in Varsity Quiz and Academic Decathlon while he was a student at University High School, a member of the charter school’s first graduating class.

He and his wife, Marilyn, who teaches at Fresno State’s American English Institute, will move to New York in August, where Guekguezian will pursue post-doctoral work at the University of Rochester. The couple met while they were both student in the Linguistics Department master’s program.

“We had three classes together. We fell in love over a research project,” Guekguezian said. They have a 2-year-old son, Zekiel. Maybe he’ll follow in his daddy’s footsteps, and pursue a future in game show stardom.

Here are links to two Fresno Bee articles about Guekguezian:


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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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