Finally, Sheila has qualified not once but twice to compete on Jeopardy! Her first application was in 2004 when auditions were being held at what is now the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Omaha. Applicants were presented with fifty questions and for every room of ninety people, only the six who scored highest had any chance of becoming contestants. “I made sure I’d written something for every single one of those questions and you could tell without even looking that people around you were drawing blanks” (Interview). After the answers were tallied, Sheila’s name was called and she was put on the Jeopardy! waiting list for one year. Sadly, 2005 rolled by without so much as a phone call.
Sheila, as expected, did not give up. In June 2006, she auditioned a second time in Chicago and once again was a finalist. The following March, she was cordially invited to Los Angeles to compete on the show, the result of which was aired on July 11th 2007. Victory unfortunately proved elusive that day but simply earning the chance to play was an accomplishment in itself. Indeed, Sheila’s life has been riddled with risks many would find too daunting to surmount, be it leaving everything behind to build a new life in a strange country or competing on a game show in front of millions of viewers, yet she vigorously accepted every challenge without hesitation. Greater still, she is and has always been a charitable woman willing to give freely of herself for the benefit of the desperate and downtrodden. Her life has been an impactful one for countless people across the world and UNO is just one of many places where that impact has been felt. The name Sheila Runyon may be scarce in the University Archives but her contributions to the Med Center, Women’s Athletics, and the city at large are, as all involved parties would delightedly attest, immeasurable.