Grad student wants to be a millionaire

Shawn Ruder, a graduate student in health information management, appears on Monday’s episode of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” “I’ve always been interested in trivia,” he says.

Shawn Ruder lost 200 pounds, but the TV show he’ll appear on Monday isn’t “The Biggest Loser.”

It’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” airing at 4 p.m. on WGN-TV.

Ruder, a graduate student in health information management, tipped the scales at 462 pounds before undergoing gastric bypass surgery in December 2004.

In addition to the surgery, “I go to a gym,” he said. “I’ve had a personal trainer for the last couple of years.”

He has gained back 30 pounds, “but I plan to lose that, once I get my good habits going again,” Ruder said.

As for his “Millionaire” appearance, “I’ve always been interested in trivia,” he said. “I keep up on current events and have a trivia calendar.

“And I watch ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘Millionaire’ every day to get in the mindset as to how it might go.”

If Ruder wins a lot of money, “my one fun thing” would be to play in the World Series of Poker, in Las Vegas next July.

He’ll also pay off debts, including on his car and his house in Bradley, near Kankakee, and buy a few new pieces of furniture.

Finally, he’ll perk up his wardrobe.

“That’s one of the things that got me to New York (besides auditioning for the show) in the first place,” Ruder said.

“I hired a ‘dating coach.’ Being overweight all my life I was never really too social. I flew out and she helped me with a new type of clothing.”

If he wins big, Ruder said, “I’ll contact her again, make another trip and see what she comes up with.”

gwisby@uic.edu

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