Following last Friday’s Macnickas family concert in St. Cecilia Hall, students and tutors came to intellectual blows in their annual, friendly bout of Trivial Pursuit. On one end of the St. Cecilia Hall recreation room, a team of tutors sat at a line of tables with Trivial Pursuit “pies” (to mark progress toward victory) displayed on the wall behind them. Before them sat students on couches, benches, and the floor — each side determined to claim victory.

The rules were simple: The game would proceed as a standard Trivial Pursuit match between two teams and switch to a “Sudden Death” style of play after 45 minutes. The catch? There would not be just one deck of questions in play for the night, but two: the 1996 and 2016 editions. Each team would take a turn with one edition, then play would switch to the other. Students and tutors cheered and groaned according to their preferred set of questions.

Emceed by Clare Mangin (’23) and Anna VanWyjk (’24), the game began with a buzzing excitement. Students had won the previous two years: Would the tutors best them this time? With Michael Bishop (’23) as the student rep, and plenty of cheering spirit (many students chanting “Bishop! Bishop!”), it seemed the students had no intention of passing up on a three-peat.

Beginning with gusto, the tutors took the first turn and hit a wave of easily answered 1996 questions. Anything from TV personalities to geopolitics to obscure facts were on the table, and the tutors had correct answers in abundant supply. However, a spat of Academy Award drama proved to be their downfall; the students cheered and filled the room with rejoicing as they took their turn. The excitement mounted with each correct answer, until they fumbled on a bit of obscure movie trivia.

The rounds ricocheted back and forth, cheers and booing offered by students in equal part. Some tutors teased the louder students, and the students redoubled their chants each time. The names of bridges, vast quantities of tractors, unusually shaped flags, and more proved to the be joys and pains of each team. Finally, after the tutors amassed four points, it was time for Sudden Death.

With each square warranting a “slice,” the tutors soared ahead to fill their “pie,” but couldn’t keep up the momentum for their penultimate question. Onto the students, who fared well at 2016 trivia, with questions about stamp aficionados, self-lacing shoes, and Buffy the Vampire-Slayer propelling them on to their final question. To add a wrinkle, the tutors were able to pick the year and category of the students’ potentially final question.

“This game is our fall semester’s traditional battle of wits,” said Assistant Dean and Tutor Dr. Travis Cooper. “With Mr. Coughlin now in New England, we had an uphill battle, because he’s usually our leader, but it was a great contest — about as fun as it’s been in years.” 


  • The student leader consults his team for answers
  • Excited students look on
  • The student team leader confabulates with one of his team members
  • Enthusiastic students cheer
  • Two give each other a hug
  • Behind the tutors, the emcees announce the next question
  • Students cheer
  • The team leader answers the question
  • Students cheer!
  • Dr. Goyette confabulates with one of the emcees
  • The emcees announce in front of the pie charts
  • The students listen to the next question
  • Students cheer
  • More cheering
  • Further cheering