Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Records

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The SWC has a number of scientific collections, both from individuals, universities, and other organizations. Not the least of these is the records of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS). Founded in 1958 in Los Angeles in response to Sputnik and the perceived lack of U.S. supremacy in the technology race, the ARCS Foundation has since provided to thousands of scholars awards totaling nearly $87 million and has grown to 1,600 members in 17 Chapters across the United States. Our collections focus primarily on the Lubbock, Texas ARCS chapter, particularly related to events and get-togethers they held, the most notable of which was the 2003 ARCS National Meeting held and hosted in Lubbock.

Lubbock’s chapter was founded by Fran Carter in 1972, and she served as its first president. Her focus was on recognizing outstanding students in a leading science field at Texas Tech University (TTU) and Lubbock Christian University. The creation of the organization was also influenced by Dr. Grover E. Murray, former president of TTU and professional geologist, after he discovered other chapters from cities throughout the U.S. In 2012 the local chapter celebrated its 40th (or Ruby) Anniversary and documented the festivities in several scrapbooks, the cover of one of which can be seen above.

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Another event is their annual Scientists of the Year dinner. 2003’s event celebrated the career of noted physicist Dr. Shubhra Gangopdhyay, whose work focused on semiconductor manufacturing. This invitation was sent to the aforemented Grover Murray, whose family donated many of the ARCS’s records to us.

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ARCS receives much of its support from donors, both at the local and national level. Documentation of donation drives, fundraising goals and results, and similar information comprise a sizable portion of these records. Fortunately, not all of them are dry financial reports. Here we have a page from a scrapbook acknowledging Lubbock’s many donors on the occasion of the chapter’s 40th (or Ruby) anniversary. These scrapbooks are some of the best parts of this collection, because through their photographs, biographies, and other personal elements they capture the human side of the organization.

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Interspersed among the newspaper and magazine clippings, correspondence, and scattered financial records in the collection is also a nearly complete run of ARCS newsletters, both local and national.This newsletter for the Lubbock chapter dates from Fall 2003, and concisely summarizes a great deal of organizational info: award winners, events both past and upcoming, and administrative information to which members otherwise might not have easy access.

In short, although the ARCS records are a relatively small collection, it is diverse and at the very least provides a snapshot of a large national organization is handled at the local level. The rest of the scrapbooks in particular are particularly interesting, and it’s a shame that we couldn’t provide more of them here. As with all of our materials, interested parties are encouraged to use our Reference Staff to the fullest if they want to see any of this in the flesh.

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