Atlanta History

Our compelling history
Following the 1957 launch of the Soviet Union’s satellite Sputnik, America’s scientific leadership was questioned. The next year, a group of philanthropic women in California founded Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). ARCS Foundation enhances scientific leadership in the United States through financial investment in student researchers pursuing careers in science, technology, math, engineering, and medical research.
In 1990, Mary O’Conner invited fifteen founding members to explore the feasibility of starting ARCS Foundation Atlanta. Two years later, the Chapter was incorporated with Mary O’Conner serving as the first president. Three Atlanta academic institutions were invited to partner with the new Chapter: Emory, a private research University, Georgia Institute of Technology, a public research university and institute of Technology, and Morehouse College, a private historically black men’s college. The scholars were selected by the educational institution and the Atlanta Chapter provided the Scholar Award funding.
With an increase in Chapter membership and public recognition that the Atlanta Chapter was a proven means for business, educational, civic, and social community members to contribute to the advancement of scientific education, ARCS Foundation was able to increase both the financial amount of Scholar Awards and the number of scholars supported. In 2000, the University of Georgia, a public land grant research university in Athens, Georgia, was invited to partner with the Atlanta Chapter.
The 25th Anniversary of the Atlanta Chapter was celebrated with Luncheon Events sponsored by our academic partners, the Scholar Awards Luncheon on November 17, 2016 and the Silver Anniversary Jubilee in April 2017.  Five years later, the 30th Anniversary was celebrated with a Chapter Retreat to Pittsburgh, a private tour of the Heemstra Laboratory at Emory University, and the 2022 Scholar Awards Celebration at Georgia Tech.
Today, the Atlanta Chapter continues its commitment to scientific leadership. With strong support from the chapter, Emory Rollins School of Public Health became eligible to nominate scholars for consideration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we actively increased the public’s awareness of the Atlanta Chapter by aggressively engaging several communication technologies such as social media, multimedia presentations, and Zoom conferencing. ARCS Foundation is the largest private membership organization in the United States focusing on financial support to America’s most promising intellectual resource, our science scholars.
ARCS Atlanta Chapter Founding Members

FOUNDING MEMBERS Paula Bevington, Mary O’Connor (Chapter Founder), Trudy Huger, Michelle Nordin, Kitty Hawks, Beth Barnett, Sue Wieland and Clare Whitfield.  

FOUNDING MEMBERS NOT PICTURED: Kathy Ashe, Jean Brumley*, Patsy Drummond, Mary Gellerstedt, Frannie Graves*, Carol Kranig, Gay Love, Carol Teem.  (*deceased)