In the months since Dr. Samuel Hsu’s sudden home going, we’ve received many words of comfort and remembrance from friends of the University, friends of Dr. Hsu, his former students, and many others. It will be no surprise to anyone who knew him that most people mention his musical gifts, his humility, his gentleness, his graciousness, and his wisdom. Over and over again, he has been described as “a wonderful man,” “a man of God,” and “a great man.” Sam himself would be the first person to brush off these descriptions and point us back to looking at Christ. His words upon being named Distinguished Professor succinctly presented his perspective on himself: “I am but a sinner saved by grace.”
The juxtaposition of the two makes it difficult to pay him tribute. For we know that it is only by God’s grace that any of us has skill, success, or godliness, but at the same time we recognize that Dr. Hsu was gifted, and we were honored to have had him in our lives.
For over forty years, Dr. Samuel Hsu’s life was inextricably intertwined with the life of this institution. He came as a student in 1965, and, in essence, never left. The stories his friends and professors tell of his days as a student are precursors to the stories his colleagues and students tell of his later years. They highlight his humor, his respect for others, his talent, his caring heart, and his thirst for knowledge. There is an emptiness all of us feel now, whether we interacted with him regularly or not. PBU is now a different place than it was for the past forty years.
Scripture records the stories of great and powerful men and women, some who followed the one true God and some who did not. But what is perhaps more to be noted is that God’s story often highlights those who quietly, simply walked in faith: a harp-playing shepherd, a slave girl, a young virgin, a fisherman. They were men and women who loved God and allowed themselves to be used for His glory.
Dr. Hsu’s office and home were filled with books that covered a vast variety of topics. Looking at them, you could imagine that a man with his keen intellect was interested in everything. But he once explained to one of his students, “I’m only interested in one thing: love.” His love for Christ and the love of Christ were the hallmark of his life.
Perhaps what was most remarkable about Dr. Hsu after all, was not his talent, his knowledge, his humility, his humor, or his wisdom; rather it was his contentment. The breadth of his knowledge could have established him a renaissance man of his generation. His prodigious talent could have scored him recognition and acclaim far beyond what he ever attained. But instead of seeking these things, he sought Christ and His calling. And we were blessed because of it.
[framed_box]PBU has created the Samuel Hsu Memorial Fund for gifts given in Dr. Hsu’s memory. To learn more about the fund, see this issue’s Advancement Update. On the next page, read more from Dr. Hsu’s students and friends about his impact on their lives.