A summer course in visual arts for high school students at the University of Kansas in Lawrence was Mary Lee Hu's introduction to metalsmithing. She pursued these studies at Miami University, the School for American Craftsmen at Rochester Institute of Technology, and at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where she earned her BFA in 1965. She earned her MFA at Southern Illinois University in 1967. From 1971 to 1973, Hu lived in Taiwan, where she studied Chinese language, music, and art, and has also traveled extensively in southeast Asia. Her jewelry was first exhibited at the Everhart Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which brought Hu honorable mention in a national competition. Her first solo exhibition took place at the Crafts Alliance Gallery in St. Louis in 1967. Hu has taught at Southern Illinois University and Michigan State University, and since 1980 has been on the faculty the University of Washington in Seattle.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)