Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer Hsu, MD ‘05 and Benson Hsu, MD ‘05

Alumni Spotlight - Hsus

While they may now reside nearly 500 miles away from their medical school alma mater in mid-Missouri, Benson Hsu, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM ’05 and Jennifer Hsu, MD, FACP, FIDSA ’05 still maintain a strong connection to the University of Missouri School of Medicine. As generous donors to the White Coat & Stethoscope Fund, the Hsus help support first-year medical students as they receive their first tools of the medical trade during orientation week.

At the White Coat Ceremony and Stethoscope Breakfast, medical students are given their first MU-branded white coat and cardiology grade stethoscope. Since 2013, MU alumni and friends have contributed more than $250,000 to support the two programs.

The Hsus, who currently reside in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, have been regular donors to the programs since fundraising began. Benson is a pediatric critical care physician, while Jennifer is an adult infectious disease physician. The couple also serves as professors at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.

At their 2005 wedding, Jennifer and Benson Hsu were joined by their MU School of Medicine classmates.
At their 2005 wedding, Jennifer and Benson Hsu were joined by their MU School of Medicine classmates.

As they reminisce on their own time at MU, Benson and Jennifer say they value what they took away from the MU School of Medicine and wanted to give back to the newest groups of medical students.

“We truly had a great experience and received tremendous support from our classmates, colleagues and faculty,” said Jennifer. “Our clinical training at MU was fantastic and we obtained incredible hands-on experience. Contributing to the White Coat & Stethoscope Fund is really a clear-cut way to support the current medical students and assist them in being initiated into the process of becoming a doctor.”

Next year will mark 20 years since the Hsus earned their medical degrees from the University of Missouri. Over those two decades, each year’s class of first-year medical students have enjoyed a memorable White Coat Ceremony, but it will be hard to top their respective experience back in 2001.

“I’ll never forget how hot it was with temperatures above 100 degrees all week-long during orientation,” said Jennifer. “I remember our class trekking across campus to Jesse Hall and by the time we arrived we were all drenched in sweat. They took our formal photos that day too, and we all laughed at our very non-flattering pictures that would be on our badges for the next four years.”

While the extreme weather conditions were unforgettable, Benson also never forgot what that specific moment symbolized for him and his classmates.

“It served as a clear transition of going from non-medical to medical school, and when you put that white coat on, your role changes fundamentally to caring for individuals,” said Benson. “I also won’t ever forget former assistant dean of Student Affairs Dr. Robert N. McCallum’s first conversation he had with our class. It really set the stage for us in our new role as medical students, signifying who we represented and what we stood for.”

Later this summer, the incoming Class of 2028 at the MU School of Medicine will participate in the Stethoscope Breakfast on July 31, and meet inside Jesse Auditorium for their White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 2. As proud contributors to the fund, the Hsus know their impact will be felt even from afar.

“It maintains a connection for us to a time in our lives that made us who we are today,” said Benson. “To have that connection still is very important to us. To be able to give back to the current wave of MU medical students as they begin their journeys is special and it means a lot.”