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Professor Put Clues to Cash Prize in Syllabus

Kenyon Wilson, a professor at the University of Tennessee, wanted to test whether any of his students fully read the syllabus for his music seminar. Of the more than 70 students enrolled in the class, none apparently did. Wilson said he knows this because on the second page of the three-page syllabus he included the location and combination to a locker, inside of which was a $50 cash prize. But when the semester ended on December 8, students went home and the cash was unclaimed. Wilson wrote on Facebook “My semester-long experiment has come to an end. Today I retrieved the unclaimed treasure.”

Wilson said he wanted to include the hidden clues to brighten up the semester during the pandemic. “Teaching in a pandemic, I’m trying to do creative things and, you know, make it interesting. The syllabus is a really dry document, but I thought if my students are reading it, I might as well reward them.”

Tanner Swoyer, a senior studying instrumental music education, said that he felt “pretty dumb, pretty stupid” when he saw the professor’s post about the money in the locker.

Wilson said he was not disappointed with his students. When he was a student, he most likely would have also missed the clues, he said. “We read the parts that we deem important. You know, what’s the attendance policy? What are the things I need to do to pass this class? And then there’s other stuff. On the first day of the semester I pointed out: ‘Hey, there are some new things in the syllabus. Make sure you, you know, make sure you catch them,’ and then no one did.”

Possible Preaching Angles:

1) Alertness; Bible reading; Scripture – Believers need to read the Word of God with careful attention because there are many hidden riches to be discovered; 2) Prayer; Promises of God – God has given us very great and precious promises in his Word which we can claim by faith through prayer (2 Pet. 1:4).

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