Ashley Cheng ’93 knows a lot about loss. When he was four years old, preparing to leave Taiwan for the United States, he and his parents were involved in a horrific car accident. His parents died in the accident. Cheng made the 16-hour flight to the United States alone to meet his grandfather.
Cheng’s first words to his grandfather were, “Please don’t sell me.” Cheng says his grandfather promised to keep him, and with his grandmother’s help, raised him, instilling in him a work ethic and an appreciation for education.
Recognizing those who need assistance and honoring his late grandmother, Cheng worked with the Montgomery College Foundation to establish the Ellen Lin Cheng Endowed Scholarship for those affected by the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.
Cheng chose to give back to the College because, “The money goes further for a student at MC than it would for a student at a four-year university. I also believe in the College’s mission to ensure that anybody can get an education, whether you are just starting out of high school or looking for another career.”
As a high school student, Cheng, whose grandparents insisted he go to college—and pay for it himself—enrolled in advanced high school courses, such as calculus, at the College. The flexibility and affordability of the College enabled him to work and go to school. He then transferred to the University of Maryland, graduating with a degree in English literature—and a love of gaming and problem solving.
These interests led him to the marketing/public relations department of Bethesda Softworks, a video game publisher. During his 18-year tenure with the firm, he drew on his impeccable work ethic, advancing to the technical side of the business.
Now a successful video game developer, Cheng and his wife, Megen, are parents to six-year-old John and three-year-old Emma. Through his own loss—and perseverance—he wants to give back to Montgomery College and those students who are in need. “When kids immigrate to the United States, whether with their parents or on their own, they need all the help they can get,” he says.