For immediate release April 02, 2015

University of Miami Office of Civic and Community Engagement to Receive Key of Excellence from Phi Beta Kappa

Prize Recognizes Exemplary Efforts to Engage Communities with Arts & Sciences

CORAL GABLES, FL – The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦBK), the nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society, announced today that it will present the University of Miami’s Office of Civic & Community Engagement (CCE) with the Key of Excellence Award and its $10,000 prize at a reception on Thursday, April 2. 

Phi Beta Kappa will present the award at the Kampong National Tropical Botanical Garden in Coconut Grove during a ceremony emceed by Katy Sorenson, founder and CEO of the Good Government Initiative. Robin Bachin, Assistant Provost for Civic and Community Engagement at the University of Miami, will accept the award in support of the CCE’s work. 

“The Phi Beta Kappa Society created the Key of Excellence Awards to energize support for the arts and sciences because of their value to the nation,” said ΦBK President Katherine Soule. “The Key of Excellence showcases innovative programs that demonstrate the excellence, range, and relevance of the arts and sciences to their communities. We aim to show decision makers that the arts and sciences develop both inventive employees and thoughtful citizens. They are vital to a vibrant culture and democracy.”
The selection committee recognized the Office of Civic and Community Engagement’s exemplary cross-campus commitment to advance the civic purposes of higher education through engaged scholarship and community outreach.

“We are honored and humbled to be accepting this award from such an esteemed academic organization.  The award draws attention to the importance of linking academic knowledge in the arts and sciences to the public purposes of that knowledge for improving and enhancing our communities locally, nationally, and globally,” said Assistant Provost Bachin.

Harnessing the University’s diverse academic resources, its connections to the region, and its spirit of innovation, the CCE seeks to help solve complex social problems—and prepare students to make significant contributions to community well-being in South Florida. Major initiatives such as UM Civic Scholars, Civic Engagement High School Partnership, Engaged Faculty Fellows, and the Imagining America Research Collaborative on Civic Professionalism promote positive social change while creating a baseline of information regarding the role of civic engagement in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences education.
This award comes just after the Office of Civic and Community Engagement led the effort for the University of Miami to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“We are deeply impressed with the CCE’s exemplary, cross-campus commitment to advancing the civic purposes of higher education through engaged scholarship and community collaboration,” says Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill. “We particularly applaud CCE’s extensive array of arts and sciences community-based projects for underserved and vulnerable populations in Miami, an area known to lag behind other U.S. metropolitan regions in indicators of civic well-being.”
Previous recipients of the Key of Excellence Award include Arizona State University’s Project Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Wisconsin Science Festival and the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts.


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, almost 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 39 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 130 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit

About The National Arts and Sciences Initiative

Higher education is at a crossroads, with many of our country's leaders questioning the need for a broad-based arts and sciences curriculum. ΦBK launched a multi-year National Arts & Sciences Initiative to strengthen support for the value of the arts and sciences today. The initiative demonstrates that a broad-based arts and sciences education expands opportunity, drives ingenuity and innovation, and makes a strong investment in America.  

About University of Miami's Office of Civic and Community Engagement

The Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) fosters university-community collaboration by engaging the university’s academic resources in the enrichment of civic and community life in our local, national, and global communities.