On the Rhodes

A Commerce graduate gets the opportunity of a lifetime.
Issue: 
On the Rhodes

What do Bill Clinton, country singer Kris Kristofferson and author Naomi Wolf have in common? They’re all Rhodes Scholars. For more than a century, the world’s best and brightest have gone to Oxford University on the famed scholarship.

Among the latest Rhodes Scholars is Jane Hutchings, BCom’21, GDA’21. She’s one of just 11 Canadians and 104 people worldwide this year to get what the Rhodes Trust calls “the world’s most pre-eminent postgraduate scholarship.”

Hutchings grew up in St. John’s and works at Deloitte in Toronto. She’s off to England in September to earn two master’s degrees over two years. She says she applied to the scholarship because “other Rhodes Scholars from Newfoundland always seemed to be doing amazing things. I thought what an opportunity that would be.”

A Commerce degree wasn’t in the cards for Hutchings growing up. She intended to study medical sciences. But her interest in business was piqued when, in Grade 11, she took part in a summer program that included a Dragons’ Den-style pitch competition. Receiving the D&R Sobey Atlantic Scholarship (awarded to students from Atlantic Canada) allowed her to attend Smith.

At Oxford, Hutchings is taking a Master of Public Policy in her first year. In her second year, she’s interested in studying global governance or financial economics. These line up with her career ambitions of working in international diplomacy and trade and, eventually, running for office in Newfoundland & Labrador. Regarding the latter, Hutchings wants to grow the province’s rural economies while preserving local cultures.

It’s a passion that Hutchings got first-hand experience with at Smith. She worked with Professor Tina Dacin on research that looked at community custodianship on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island, where a mix of tourism, arts and fishing is revitalizing fortunes.

Hutchings points to Fogo Island and other efforts—such as one in Ireland to establish “remote work hubs” in small towns—as examples of how the province’s rural communities can prosper. “There are a lot of cool things around the world that we can learn from,” she says. “Innovation and new development can happen anywhere.”