Meet 2016 Forward under 40 Award recipient William Hsu ’00


UW Majors: Finance, East Asian Studies, And Chinese Language And Literature

Age: 39 | Wausau, Wisconsin
Vice President of Operations at Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises and Farmer at Hsu Ginseng Farms

Madison. Minneapolis. Boston. Phoenix. William Hsu has lived, worked, and studied in many cities across the country. But for Hsu, there’s no place like home: Wausau, Wisconsin.

Born to first-generation immigrants who left Taiwan in search of greater opportunities in the United States, he learned the importance of education from an early age. He first became involved with the UW System when his parents enrolled him in the College for Kids program held during the summer at UW-Marathon County. He also took college-level math classes there while still in high school.

Hsu wasted no time in making an impact on UW-Madison when he arrived in 1994. He took part in residence hall government, was a house fellow for UW Housing, and later became a campustour-guide coordinator, which taught him a lot about the history of the university.

“… we are now focusing on upgrading our technology and investing in our people and infrastructure to compete in this new digital era.”

“These instrumental lessons in developing programs prepared me well for the multitude of positions I have held in the business world since — more so than any summer internship or off-campus work experience,” he says.

After graduation, Hsu landed a job as a financial analyst with General Mills in Minneapolis and later obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School in Boston. He then moved to Phoenix to rejoin General Mills, supporting its western sales division.

Hsu is now back in Wausau running day-to-day operations at Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises, a business his parents founded in 1974. His goal is to continue to build upon his parents’ forty years of success and lead the organization and the family’s farms into the twenty-first century.

“We have more than three hundred employees around the world, and we are now focusing on upgrading our technology and investing in our people and infrastructure to compete in this new digital era,” he says.

Through it all, Hsu has not lost his passion for UW-Madison. In 2010, he and his wife, Jenny, endowed the Hsu Family Great People Scholarship with money collected from their wedding gifts, along with a corporate match from General Mills. He then worked with the university and the UW Foundation to help develop the Bucky Challenge, an innovative social-media fundraising campaign launched in 2011 that brought in one dollar for each “Like” on Facebook and every new follower on Twitter. He also serves on the UW Foundation Board of Directors.

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