The ARCS Light Award is a distinctive honor awarded to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to ARCS Foundation. One ARCS Light may be chosen by her Chapter each year, though there is no requirement that the award be given every year. The ARCS Light is honored at the Chapter's annual meeting and at the ARCS Foundation National Annual Meeting.
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 the 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.
The Illinois Chapter of the ARCS Foundation is proud to honor all of the ARCS Light Honorees who have represented us over the years. As an example of the excellence of character and contribution to the ARCS Foundation, we are listing the following women, each of whom was an ARCS Light; and each of whom is a current member or supporter of ARCS Foundation Illinois.
Patricia Sheridan Caruso
Joanne Benazzi Friedland
Ruth Anne Unik
2020-2021 Illinois Chapter ARCS Light Award Recipient
Linda Celesia a native of Montreal, Canada moved to the United States in 1966. Arriving in Madison Wisconsin with a 9 month old baby and a husband beginning a career in academic medicine Linda knew she would need to find her niche in this new country. Following her parents example of service to the community she soon developed a passion of service and education. Many of the Boards Linda has and continues to serve on have a strong focus on education to the community or the members within the organization. Linda served as a Board member for the League of Women Voters in three states Wisconsin, Missouri, and Illinois where she served in a leadership role of educating voters through candidate debates. She also served as a docent at the Elvejhem Museum in Madison and the Field Museum in Chicago teaching school age children about art and science.
Linda has held leadership roles in numerous organizations serving as President of the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters, The Woman’s Athletic Club of Chicago, The Fortnightly of Chicago, the Women’s Board of The Adler Planetarium, Classical Art Society of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Guild of the Chicago History Museum are some of the organizations she served. She has been instrumental in leading the organization in expanding their efforts to serve the community. Her leadership within the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago a board she continues to serve on helped spearhead a capital campaign which lead to the construction of a new state of the art Clinic serving children and women.
Her background in science naturally led towards an interest in promoting science education and science literacy. Linda has been a member of the Chicago/Illinois Chapter of ARCS since 1987. During that time Linda held leadership positions on the Board serving as President for two separate terms and has filled all board roles except for that of Treasurer. Linda is currently the National Board Chair of University Relations and has held various other positions including; Chair of Governance, Board Secretary, Chair of Affiliations and Chair of Nominations.
ARCS Foundation is a very important part of Linda’s life and over the years her participation in ARCS has given her the opportunity to meet and enjoy the friendship of so many interesting women sharing similar values. Most important is the opportunity to support and promote scholars pursuing a degree in a STEM field.