Desirée Hutton (née Steele) Legacy Fund
When 9-year-old Desirée Steele learned in 2001 that girls in Afghanistan couldn’t go to school, she announced, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a women’s and children’s rights fighter!” She was known already as a friend and helper to all in her classroom. As she grew, Desirée welcomed four Cree sisters and a Dakota/Cree foster brother as siblings. She found her voice in high school debating and used it to serve, represent and advocate for students and people on the margins of society. She loved to dance, to play the piano and to accompany fiddlers, especially her brother James. She loved learning, especially about how power works and what justice can look like. She loved people wherever she found them and made friends everywhere. She celebrated life. She was passionate about working toward the common good and compassionate in seeking justice. Her Christian faith and the Catholic intellectual tradition of faith inquiring with reason motivated and informed her learning and service.
Desirée was born to David and Dorene Steele in 1992, a sister to James, and grew up in Saskatoon. She attended Georges Vanier Catholic School and homeschooled for several elementary years. Desirée passed the Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 8 Piano exams with Honours in 2009 and graduated from Holy Cross High School with Great Distinction in 2010. In 2015 she earned a B.A. with High Honours in Political Studies with a minor in Social Justice and the Common Good through St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2018 Desirée earned a J.D. with Distinction from the U of S College of Law. Many generous awards and scholarships helped further her education. Desirée served as President of the STM Student Union, student member of the STM Board of Governors, and was elected Academic Vice President of the U of S Student Union. At the time of her death, she was serving her second term as a member of STM Corporation, chair of the Bylaw Committee. She volunteered to share music with the elderly, to serve people with intellectual disabilities, to visit prisoners, and with Campus Legal Services. After articling as a clerk with the Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina Desirée worked for nearly two years as a Crown Prosecutor in Regina. She married the love of her life, Simon Hutton, in May 2020 in a Covid wedding with 10 family members present. Desirée was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive ovarian cancer in November 2021. Despite her advanced illness, Desirée and Simon celebrated their wedding with a hall full of guests on June 25, 2022.
Desirée sought to live Micah 6.8: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Her passion was to live fully, to use her voice to advocate for justice and her presence to bring peace. Desirée pursued an education that would equip her to make a difference in the lives of others. Desirée knew that education is an essential tool to improve outcomes for marginalized individuals and communities – moreover, it is a means of self-realization and fresh engagement with the world. She wanted to expand access to education for learners who need help to overcome systemic barriers to their educational goals. The Desirée Hutton (née Steele) Legacy Fund supports community service-oriented learners and students in the first generation of their family to seek post-secondary education.