Tim Hsu, LLM ’01, JD ’04, and David Ma, PhD ’09, have long been interested in helping fellow Taiwanese students at Washington University meet and connect. The two met through the WashU Taiwanese Graduate Student Association in 2003 when Hsu was serving as president. Ma had entered the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences’ doctoral program.
“Tim was a great big brother for us younger fellows,” says Ma, who, inspired by his friend, became president of the TGSA himself a year later.
Both of them eventually moved back to Taiwan. Hsu is a founder and managing partner at Washington Group & Associates, a firm of about 30 lawyers in Taipei, as well as dean of the Law School at Chinese Culture University. After graduating, Ma worked with a biotech incubator for several years and in 2014 co-founded Apollo Medical Optics, where he is now chief operating officer.
Despite busy careers, Hsu and Ma co-founded the WashU Alumni Club in Taiwan in 2012, hoping to continue the fellowship and build on the valuable network they found at WashU. Hsu served as president of the club until 2017, when Ma took over as president in January.
The club’s routine dinner parties, Ma says, are a wonderful opportunity to “update each other on our progress, share information and make new friends.” Because they also host wine tastings, karaoke nights and joint events with other alumni clubs, such as those from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia, there are always new connections to be made.
The alumni club in Taiwan relies heavily on its volunteers, and Hsu and Ma are very grateful for their efforts. “Because of them,” Ma says, “we are able to keep up momentum and continue to grow.” So far, all the club’s events have taken place in Taipei, but in the coming year, Hsu and Ma plan to also host events in Taichung and Kaohsiung, so that alums who might be farther away can take part.
In the future, Ma and Hsu hope that the alumni club they’ve built in Taiwan — a fun, organized group — can serve as both a model and a resource for other WashU alumni clubs in Asia and expand opportunities to connect alumni in the region to one another in order to share memories, knowledge and the experience of being part of the WashU family.