ARCS Light Award Winners

The ARCS Light Award is a distinctive honor presented to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to ARCS Foundation. The ARCS Light is honored at the Chapter’s annual meeting and at the ARCS Foundation All Members' Conference.

A candidate for the ARCS Light Award must have been an active member for at least three years, have served on a variety of committees as well as on the Chapter Board, have given continuous service that has had a positive impact on ARCS Foundation, have demonstrated a willingness to serve, have respect for ARCS Foundation leadership and membership, and be an exemplary representative of ARCS Foundation to her fellow members and to the community.

These ARCS Foundation Atlanta members have received the ARCS Light Award:


Susan Higley 2018

Over the past 20 years as a member Susan has willingly served as Education chair, Retreat co-chair, Nominating committee chair, and Funds Development chair.  No matter where she is or who she’s with she is a true advocate of ARCS Foundation.

A woman of many talents, Susan is a dancer, a floral designer, an appraiser and a dedicated community volunteer.  When asked to serve on an ARCS Foundation committee, she will even take time out from golf.  Most recently, Susan co-chaired the 25th anniversary celebration of ARCS Foundation Atlanta.




Gracia Conn 2017

If anyone ever met the criteria to be ARCS Light it is Gracia Conn.  She has taken an active role on the board in some capacity since she first joined ARCS in 2001 and immediately became Historian – a challenging job for anyone, let alone a new member.  She then moved on to other important jobs such as Newsletter editor, ARCS Scholar vice-chair, Scholar Luncheon co-chair, VP for Communications, and Database chair.  After she agreed to be president-elect she was called upon to take on the responsibility early when the president became ill.  Then Gracia had her own battle with cancer while serving as president.  Now, as assistant to the president, she continues to take on a leadership role in ARCS, an organization in which she clearly believes.  Her dedication, competency, loyalty and commitment make her an excellent representative of our chapter.



Peg Cooley 2016

Peg became a member of the ARCS Foundation Atlanta Chapter in 2002, and she quickly joined the board as Recording Secretary. Since then she has been VP Communications, Scholars Chair, VP University Relations, Nominating Committee Chair, and Chapter Retreat Co-Chair. She is a strong believer in the ARCS mission and supports the activities and goals of the Atlanta Chapter both financially and with her time. She is currently Internal Communications Chair, a job that both utilizes and promotes the ARCS Foundation website.

A graduate of Georgia State University, Peg has been an active supporter of scholarships through the Women's Philanthropy Initiative and other direct endowments. Early in her career, she was a librarian and an elementary school teacher, but with the birth of her children, Lara and Bryan, she focused on her family and became an active volunteer in church and school activities.

Peg and her husband, Keith, moved away from Atlanta two years ago and now live on Lake Oconee in Eatonton, GA. In addition to maintaining her involvement with ARCS, she serves on the Vestry and Altar Guild at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. She is active in several golf associations, plays competitive bridge and sings in the Reynolds Community Chorus.


Ronnie Martin 2015

A member of ARCS Foundation Atlanta Chapter since 2004, Ronnie has served as Database Chair, Internal Communications Chair, Website Chair (for both the old and new websites), and VP for Communications. She has served on the ARCS Foundation National Board as National Newsletter Chair, Information Strategies Chair, and a member of the Council of Advisors. She has devoted herself to enhancing and supporting the ARCS Foundation website’s use by National and all Chapters while helping the Atlanta Chapter shine as it illustrates best practices within its site.

Professionally, Ronnie is executive secretary for the Qatar Computing Research Institute Scientific Advisory Committee. While at Purdue University, she was research coordinator for the National Science Foundation Software Engineering Research Center, a national consortium of universities and industrial members. At Georgia Tech, she was Manager of the Software Test and Evaluation Project that consolidated Department of Defense-wide resources for software test and evaluation and developed new DoD guidance and policy for the testing of computer software for mission-critical applications. Ronnie started her career as a software engineer with IBM Corporation where she developed avionics software for the Space Shuttle.

Ronnie earned an M.S. in Operations Research and a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech and received her Certification with a Math Education Major/Science Education Minor from Purdue University.  She taught upper school mathematics at Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey. She is married to Georgia Tech professor Rich DeMillo. Their daughter, Cara, lives in Atlanta.


Sherry Lundeen 2014

Upon joining ARCS Foundation in 2004, Sherry immediately became and remains an active Atlanta Chapter member.  She has served as President, VP Funds Development, Nominating Chair and Parliamentarian. She has also served on the ARCS Foundation National Board since 2010 including the positions of Treasurer and Chair Fund Development. 

Sherry, a retired registered nurse, has been an active civic leader for over 30 years. She has held leadership posts with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta including Auxiliary President, Board of Trustees member, Children’s Foundation Board member, Chairman of Festival of Trees and Chairman Atlanta Golf Classic. She has been a volunteer and Board member of The Junior League of Atlanta including VP Finance and 80th Anniversary Chairman.

Sherry and John have been married 38 years and have two grown daughters. Together they spend time gardening and plant 1000 tulips and 750 caladiums yearly. Sherry makes time for reading, visiting the family lake house in the North Georgia Mountains and traveling with John.


Liz Troy 2013

A member of ARCS Foundation since 2000, Liz has stepped up to many varied and diverse roles in the Chapter including: Chair of Alumni Scholar Relations, Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Chair of Scholar Awards Luncheon and Director of Funds Development. Liz is currently putting together a campaign as Chair of the Endowment Committee.

Liz still has time and energy for her volunteer work with the Atlanta Symphony Associates, where she has chaired their Decorators’ Show House & Gardens, Symphony Celebration and led the organization as president. She is also a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Board.

And, there’s time for athletic endeavors like yoga, spinning and golf. Liz and her husband, Mike, enjoy active vacations cycling and hiking in interesting places: Provence, Ireland, Alaska and Peru. They have 2 children: their daughter, Erin, lives with her husband, Kevin, in Washington, DC and their son, Brendan, lives in Westfield, NJ with his wife, Candace, and their 3 children: Aidan, Keira and Bridget.


Debbie Liss 2012

Deborah Liss joined ARCS Foundation in 1995 and immediately got involved. She chaired the Chapter’s Retreat to Santa Fe, New Mexico and as President she was involved with the Chapter’s Retreat to San Francisco. During her presidency she initiated the Century Scholar Fund encouraging members to contribute $1000, joining forces with other members to give scholar awards. She also initiated the ARCS Foundation Chapter Directory to include member photos.

She is currently chairing the Speakers Bureau and the Endowment Series, a fundraising endeavor for the Chapter Endowment Fund. She has been a member of the National Board serving as Public Relations Chair, Vice President of Communications, Advisory Board, and most notably, being involved in the change of the ARCS Foundation logo.

Deborah serves on the Board of the Justice Center of Atlanta and has served on the boards of Visiting Nurse and the Komen Foundation. Involved in many philanthropic endeavors, she has chaired the Visiting Nurse Hospice Gala, the Atlanta Symphony Ball and the Big Splash, a fundraiser for the Marcus Autism Center. She is currently co-chairing Project Gift with last year’s ARCS Light, Susie Deyo. Professionally, Debbie is currently a mediator in the Georgia Court system.   


Susie Deyo 2011

An active member in the Atlanta Chapter since joining in 1996, Susie has held numerous leadership positions including Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer, Database/Directory Chair, Historian, Retreat Co-Chair and Vice President-Membership. 

Besides her ARCS Foundation involvement, Susie is always doing something interesting.  In addition to various projects, she has been the co-organizer of a long running craft show in western North Carolina for the benefit of local craftsmen.  Last year, she and Debbie Liss, ARCS Foundation National Advisory Council member, founded a new program in a low income Atlanta public elementary school call “Project Gift.”  The program stocks a gift shop and its mission is to instill a sense of dignity and pride in each child while introducing them to the joys of earning and giving to others.

Currently, Susie and her husband, Bill, divide their time between Atlanta and western North Carolina.  They have two daughters and five grandchildren in Atlanta.


Janie Wilson 2010

The Atlanta Chapter is proud to have Immediate Past National President Janie Wilson as our 2010 ARCS Light. She joined ARCS Foundation in 1998 and was Chapter President from 2002 to 2004. She has been an officer on the National Board since 2004, including VP New Chapter Development and VP Chapter Relations. She served as the National President from 2007 to 2009 during which time our new tagline and logo were adopted. Janie has also been committed to the Atlanta community.

She has held leadership posts with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, including Auxiliary President, Board of Trustees member and Chairman of the Festival of Trees. She has held positions with the Junior League of Atlanta, Wesley Woods Geriatric Center at Emory University and currently chairs the Wesley Woods Towers Advisory Board. She also chairs the Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Authority of Fulton County.

Janie is a Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vanderbilt University in Mathematics. Professionally, she has taught and tutored high school math, worked as a publicist and free-lance writer, is an interior designer and antiques dealer, and has been an exercise instructor for 30 years. She is married to Atlanta attorney Chuck Wilson, and they have two grown children. Charles is an Air Force fighter pilot, and Laura is a geologist/paleontologist who is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Janie is an avid tennis player. She and Chuck love to hike, hunt, garden and drive their vintage Corvettes.

Previous ARCS Light Award Winners:

2009 Jeanne Berry 2008 Anne Boyd 2007 Pat Leake
2006 Lisa Bankoff 2005 Kay Weiss 2004 Betty Feezor
2003 Teed Poe 2002 Clare Whitfield 2001 Kitty Hawks
2000 Mary O'Connor 1999 Lexi Mitch 1998 Frannie Graves
1997 Patsy Drummond 1996 Alice Brown 1995 Cecy Jones
1994 Carol Teem 1993 Cheryl Dixon