FMU prepares for 4th President’s Bowl

Starting at 6 p.m., Feb. 22, at the Smith University Center (UC), FMU will host the bracket selection event for the fourth annual “President’s Bowl,” in which teams will be chosen to compete head-to-head in a battle of the brains for the hope of bringing home the FMU President’s Bowl trophy and a $1,500 check for their group.

The bracket selection is one of seven events in the President’s Bowl series, with the rest of the competition scheduled throughout March in the same area of the UC. The tournament runs similarly to a conventional quiz bowl, in which three players from a variety of teams will compete against each other to answer questions from an assortment of subjects as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Teams will be given free T-shirts to wear at the event and are allowed a team size of up to six players with the ability to make substitutions at halftime. Though groups are usually formed through campus organizations and classes, applications are open to anyone who wants to enter as long as they have a faculty adviser.

Apart from bragging rights, free T-shirts and a custom-engraved trophy, many students are drawn to the bowl by the possibility of winning the monetary reward. The first-place prize for the bowl is $1,500, followed by the second-place prize at $1,000, with third and fourth places receiving $250 per team.

Christopher Kennedy, vice president for student life and professor of history, said the event has become a popular tradition, usually hosting around 16 teams per tournament.

“When we have it all set up, it looks kind of like a game show,” Kennedy said. “There’s an MC in the middle, and he keeps things going and keeps it kind of light, and the teams just go back and forth.”

The event will follow traditional COVID-19 precautions to ensure the safety of participants and everyone else involved. In addition to mask requirements and capacity limitations, officials will take the teams’ temperatures on the nights of the events.

“Come on out and just have some fun,” Kennedy said. “That’s the whole goal of student life, to get students engaged and have some fun during your college times. I think we’re coming out on the other side [of COVID-19] and making some memorable events. This will be our fourth year in a row, and I think we’re going to be keeping the President’s Bowl for the unforeseen future.”

Questions for the event are broadly based and follow many topics involving history, science, geography, pop culture, art and literature. Though teams receive more points for answering a question quickly, the prompts were designed to be easier to understand the longer they are read, requiring players to consider their course of action for responses.

“We have some old [questions] from last year, and we can just give out the whole set to read through and practice,” Kennedy said. “That’s the strategy–to actually get your ear tuned to hear how it goes.”

This year’s President’s Bowl is hosted by the McNair Institute for Research and Service. Though sign-ups are nearly closed, Ann Stoeckmann, director of the McNair Institute, encouraged students to attend the event regardless of whether they are on a team.

“Come by and see us,” Stoeckmann said. “Watch the matches, see how it goes, and then next year, enter a team yourself.”

For sample questions, team applications and further event information, visit the official President’s Bowl page at