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Hutchens on Jeopardy

Hutchens enjoys Jeopardy! experience

Tournament of Champions winning Ingram provides encouragement and support.

The answer is: This Wofford College graduate is following in her boyfriend’s huge footsteps as a contestant on “Jeopardy!”.

The correct question — and don’t forget to phrase it in the form of a question — is: Who is Liz Hutchens?

That’s right! Liz Hutchens ’09 appeared Nov. 25 on the popular game show with Alex Trebek. Back in 2013, Hutchens’ boyfriend, Ben Ingram ’05, had an eight-game run on “Jeopardy!”, and in 2014 he won the show’s “Tournament of Champions,” giving him a $250,000 prize to add to the more than $177,000 he earned during his regular games.

Ingram encouraged Hutchens to try out for the show. He had credited Hutchens with urging him to take the test and become a contestant. She took the online test last year and was invited for an in-person audition in Atlanta. “Then in August, I received the call to go out (to Los Angeles) to film the show. Once I was invited, I had about 24 days to brush up on any trivia that might come up, and Ben helped quiz me a lot, especially on presidents,” she says.

“Ben was great. He wanted me to have a fun and memorable ‘Jeopardy!’ experience,” she says, adding that Ingram, her parents and several friends attended the taping. 

“It was fairly surreal being there as an audience member (when Ingram was on the show), and even more so as a contestant,” she says. “On the day you tape, you have to get up really early and then start rehearsing the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the show, such as walking up on stage, finding where you’ll be standing, having a few practice rounds with the buzzer and writing your name.” After that, it’s makeup, paperwork and waiting for the audience, she says, adding that she had the opportunity to watch “lots of amazing contestants” film before her turn. “It goes by very quickly, and it felt like a whirlwind.”

Hutchens says she’s a “proud alum” of the Wofford Theatre Department, “and at the very least I projected my voice appropriately, and I hope I make my former professors and instructors proud.”

After she graduated, the Bismarck, N.D. native says theater took her to Minneapolis for a while. Then, she moved back to Spartanburg and then on toward Charlotte when she began pursuing her nursing career.

“Coming from a liberal arts education, I can safely say that I use all of the skills I learned in the theatre department and other classes to help in the clinical setting,” says Hutchens, who met Ingram while they were at Wofford, but didn’t start dating him until after graduation. “You’d be surprised how much overlap there is between nursing and theater.”

Hutchens is continuing her education, working to complete her RN-BSN this year with plans to enroll in programs until she reaches a terminal degree in nursing.

by Laura Hendrix Corbin