No one who has met Kate is surprised that she is a Jeopardy! champ. But this professor of law at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma is also a lifelong champion for women's rights who donated half of her Jeopardy! winnings to charity. A five-time champion in 1988, she credits her success on the show to "having parents who constantly emphasized knowledge, education and reading." After an in-depth analysis of the game, her plan is to "know when to be serious and when to laugh. And to bet aggressively on the Daily Doubles."
Hi, I'm Kate Waits. In 1987 I won $48,904 on Jeopardy!. I was a Tournament of Champions semifinalist in 1988. Watch me participate in Jeopardy!'s Million Dollar Masters tournament. Right now you're watching me on jeopardy.com.
What is your present occupation?
I'm a law professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
What do you remember most from your previous appearances on Jeopardy!?
I remember a lot about the contestants and how interested and by and large how nice they were. And I also remember that there were actually things that came to me that I didn't even know I knew. So that rather than freezing up, I actually got things I didn't expect to get.
How has being on Jeopardy! changed your life?
Oh, it's a wonderful entrée when I'm introduced, or like, when I'm giving a seminar on some really dull legal topic, or some unfunny legal topic like domestic violence, I always am introduced as a Jeopardy! champ, and that both lightens things up, and frankly, it really makes people think that I know what I'm talking about.
How have you spent your winnings?
Uh, with my previous winnings, I gave I think about half of it to charity, the biggest portion of which--I was then living in Albany, New York, and they were trying to get a shelter for battered women started, and I made a nice contribution to help with that effort, and indeed they did open a shelter not long thereafter.
Do you want to say hello to anyone?
Say hi to my kids, who did not come with me, Alan and Marsha Belski, to all my students at the University of Tulsa, and maybe especially to my Introduction to Women's Studies students, who've been very excited for me, and very sweet.
Any special strategy for the competition?
I would really like to make it to the second week. I frankly don't expect to win. There are people here who just know a ton more than I do. Uh, but even if I don't make it to the second week, you know, we get the $10,000, and the trip, and the five nights at the Waldorf, and--the best, the best--the guy holding up the sign at the airport with my name for the limo: that's the neatest part of all!
"A Harvard Law graduate when she competed in the 1988 Tournament of Champions, she's now a law professor at the University of Tulsa; from Tulsa, Oklahoma..."
2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament quarterfinalist: $10,000.
1990 Super Jeopardy! quarterfinalist: $5,000.
1988 Tournament of Champions semifinalist: $5,000.
Season 4 4-time champion: $49,804 + the Jeopardy! home game (boxed or computerized).
Kate appeared on the 2015-02-25 episode of Sports Jeopardy!.