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Dr. James Choy
The son of Chinese immigrants and the first in a family of five siblings to be college educated, Dr. James Choy led a distinguished life, whether volunteering on a hospital ship or simply fishing with his children, two of whom were also inspired to join the medical profession. In honor of Dr. Choy (SSOM '37), the James K. L. Choy, MD, Scholarship Fund, created with $500,000 from the doctor's estate, is awarded preferably to a student from a working-class background.
Dr. Choy was raised in Hawaii and earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii and a master's degree in anatomy at Loyola University Chicago before enrolling at Stritch, where he received some financial assistance. "His father, who owned a general store, paid for whatever tuition the scholarships didn't cover," says his daughter, Cathie Choy, PhD. Her father’s recognition of this support was perhaps what motivated him to work so diligently throughout his career, as a way of honoring his own family's struggle to support him.
Dr. Choy completed his urology residency at Cook County Hospital, where he met his wife, Helen, a dietician who was also a first-generation Chinese-American. After his residency, he was drafted into military service, and then set up practice in Topeka, Kansas, where he and Helen raised three children. There, he again distinguished himself through his hard work and commitment to medicine. "My dad was one of only three urologists practicing in Kansas, and the first to be board-certified," says his son Wesley Choy, MD (SSOM '77), an orthopedic surgeon with a practice in Kankakee, Illinois.
In addition to being on staff at several hospitals and clinics, the elder Dr. Choy completed three tours of volunteer duty on the hospital ship Hope that sailed to Tunisia and Brazil. With a strong work ethic and commitment to the community, he was driven to provide quality care to his patients. "My father and my mother would drive to outlying towns to care for patients," Wesley recalls. "Until later in his career, he never had a partner so he was constantly on call and did rounds twice a day, including weekends and holidays."
"He never forgot the assistance he received from Stritch," Cathie says. With the support of the James K. L. Choy, MD, Scholarship Fund, today's students will continue to create their own legacy of firsts. Dr. Choy created his legacy to support tomorrow's doctors.
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