Needham resident receives NCAA Silver Anniversary award

Abby Cheng receives the 2016 Silver Anniversary Award. (Photos courtesy of Charlotte Morgan)

By Josh Perry
Hometown Weekly Staff

Needham resident Abby Cheng was honored at the 2016 NCAA Convention held in San Antonio in January. Cheng, a former standout volleyball player at Arkansas State University, was one of six recipients of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

The honor is given annually to “distinguished individuals”  on the 25th anniversary of the end of their college careers. The selections are made by a panel of former student-athletes and representatives from NCAA schools and conferences. The award recognizes not only their playing days but also success in each recipient’s chosen profession.

Cheng was honored along with Chris Howard, Joé Juneau, Russell Maryland, Dikembe Mutombo, and Steve Smith.

After two years playing basketball and volleyball at a junior college in  her home state of California, Cheng joined Arkansas State and helped the Red Wolves to a program record 43 wins in 1989. She is fourth and fifth in program history for single-season blocks with 219 as a senior and 206 during her junior season. Her career total of 425 is still sixth all-time.

She graduated with a degree in biological sciences in 1991 and then earned a Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Cheng studied embryonic development in graduate school and received the Clifford and Evelyn Cherry Fellowship from the American Heart Association to study blood vessel development.

Cheng moved to Massachusetts with her family and left the research field to participate in volunteer work with Science Club for Girls based in Cambridge. The organization provides free STEM programs for girls in underserved communities to “foster excitement, confidence and literacy” in science and technology.

For more information about Science Club for Girls, visit

For more information about the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award and the 2016 recipients, visit

Josh Perry is an Editor at Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

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