Chris Cheng awarded full scholarship to Yale doctoral program

A grandson and grandfather named Cheng each received some very good news this spring, and Marietta College is proud of both of them.

Christopher Cheng, who graduated from Marietta College in May with a bachelor of science in physics, has been awarded a full six-to-seven-year scholarship to Yale University's doctoral program in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Chris is the son of Chosen and Mely Cheng of Dublin, Calif., and the grandson of Wen-Yu (Frank) Cheng, emeritus professor of economics at Marietta.

Wen-Yu (Frank) Cheng has been selected as one of the seven outstanding alumni of Wuhan University in Wuhan, China, for its fourth class of the biennial selection.

Chris Cheng notes that acclaim from his alma mater is not Frank Cheng's first or only mark of distinction: "My grandfather's accomplishments are a testament to his unwillingness to rest on his laurels," he said.

Frank Cheng taught economics at Marietta from 1948 until his retirement in 1986. Through his efforts, the College established, in 1985, its first exchange program with a Chinese university. Cheng directed the China Exchange Program until 1995, concluding 47 years of service to the College.

Recognized for his significant contributions to economic teaching and writing, Cheng is the author of several books and professional articles in English, and one college text, "Economics: A General Survey," written in Chinese. He has served numerous other professional societies and boards, including chairing the board of trustees for Washington State Community College.

In 1985, Cheng was given the lifelong ranking of Senior Distinguished Professor of the College. In 1998, the Wen-Yu Cheng Scholarship, which benefits economics students, was established in his honor. In 2005, Cheng was inducted into the Marietta College Faculty Emeritus Chamber.

"Wuhan University will hold a celebratory convocation in late March or early April, and will notify me in advance of the exact dates so that I can attend," Dr. Cheng said. "I am honored, but the news of my grandson Chris deserves the central focus."

Chris Cheng says that when he enrolled as a science major at Marietta, he knew that graduate school would have to be the next step. "I have no doubt that the science program at MC, particularly the physics department, has thoroughly prepared me to tackle the next step at Yale," he said. "Yale was not the only school that I applied to, but the program is top notch and I feel that I can't go wrong with my decision."

The scholarship application required a comprehensive online application that listed Chris's academic achievements. A Rickey Scholar and recipient of the Samuel R. Ruby scholarship in physics at Marietta, Chris had competed successfully for a funded National Science Foundation research internship in physics at Columbia University in the summer of 2004. Over his MC career, Chris also completed an investigative studies fellowship, served as president of the Society of Physics Students, and was elected president of his social fraternity.

Chris was inducted by the physics honorary society and the first-year students' academic honor society, and was runner-up for Delta Upsilon International's Outstanding Undergraduate of the Year Award. He will be inducted by Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honorary society, in April.

The Yale program seeks students with various degrees such as physics, chemistry, molecular biology, or biochemistry. Since Chris finished course requirements for his physics major in his junior year, he had a chance to dabble in some chemistry and biology courses in order to diversify his course load.

The future Dr. Cheng says a Ph.D. in biophysics will allow him to venture into industry, business, medicine, and academia. "I'm taking a wait and see approach, but this sort of career flexibility provides some interesting options."