The Phi Beta Kappa Society Launches National Arts & Sciences Initiative for Education Support
The Phi Beta Kappa Society (?BK), the nation's oldest academic honor society, formally launched its National Arts & Sciences Initiative to energize support for a broad-based arts and sciences education for the value and opportunity it brings through all of life. The multi-year initiative kicked off with an evening reception in celebration of the arts and sciences at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where Senator Lamar Alexander and Representative Rush Holt were recognized as recipients of The Phi Beta Kappa 1776 Award.
The Society also unveiled The Key of Excellence Awards, a new regional award and event series designed to showcase innovative programs across the country that reflect the excellence, range, and relevance of the arts and sciences to their communities. Arizona State University's Project Humanities has been selected as the first regional recipient of the award and will be honored in Tempe in February. "This initiative is exciting for The Phi Beta Kappa Society, our members and supporters, because it shines a deserved spotlight on the importance of the arts and sciences in higher education today," said Katherine Soule, president of ?BK. "Access to a broad-based education is a critical investment in our country. The arts and sciences drive important economic and societal innovations, as well as prepare individuals to be more resourceful employees and more engaged members of a democratic society."
Hosted by NPR Science Reporter, playwright and novelist, Shankar Vedantam, the kickoff reception recognized ?BK members Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey with the 1776 Award for their leadership and support for the arts and sciences.
"Making our governmental institutions work, just as creating them and the idea of America in the first place, depends less on technology and more upon an understanding of human nature-something that hasn't changed much over thousands of years," said Senator Lamar Alexander. "One of the most important ways to understand human nature is to study it, and I'm honored to work with organizations like the Phi Beta Kappa Society to show the importance of arts and sciences in education."
"My own career as a physicist and policymaker demonstrates the importance of access to the arts and sciences in higher education," said Representative Rush Holt. "I encourage other Phi Beta Kappa members who value their individual experiences with the arts and sciences to speak out about their benefits to decision makers in their communities to ensure the arts and sciences remain available to all Americans and for future generations."