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We Are Johnnies Feature

Dr. Philip Tsui ’73 still recalls the sense of wonder he felt the first time he arrived on the campus of Saint John’s University as a student from Hong Kong.

“Fr. Donald LeMay picked me up at the St. Cloud train station in the middle of the night when I landed in Central Minnesota,” Tsui said of SJU’s then-director of admissions. “We drove up that road (to campus). In those days, the road led directly to the front door of the Abbey Church. It was like an awe-inspiring experience - in the middle of the night all lit up.

“My God, I thought I was going to heaven or something.”

Tsui said just being able to attend college in a place like Collegeville was something he never imagined was possible growing up.

“Hong Kong in the 1950s when I was growing up was what we consider a third-world country,” he said. “It’s very different now. But we lived in a poorer section of the city. We were a working class family, struggling to get by. There was no future because there were only two universities in Hong Kong with a population of over four million people. The odds of me going to college were .. well … next to zero.”

But Tsui said LeMay and others helped make the SJU experience a reality, propelling him on to a long and successful career in psychology in the San Francisco Bay Area.

And now, he is focused on giving back to the school he says meant so much to him.

“I put Saint John’s into my will and Saint John’s is going to be the beneficiary of my estate,” he said.

“It’s a debt of honor that I owe Saint John’s and the Benedictines. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am.”


Looking to connect?

Our alumni directory, JohnniesConnect, is currently offline for an overhaul as we have switched to a new database. In the meantime, we recommend alumni utilize LinkedIn to connect with fellow alumni. To do so, visit Saint John’s University or College of Saint Benedict LinkedIn pages. Click on the Alumni tab to find a searchable database of thousands of fellow SJU and CSB alums on LinkedIn. You can search by keyword, attendance year, where they live, where they work, what they do and more.

If you are not on LinkedIn or having difficulty finding what you are looking for, please reach out to [email protected] and we will do our best to help.