For immediate release December 10, 2014

Phi Beta Kappa Honors Arizona State University’s Project Humanities 

Event Recognizes Extraordinary Efforts to Connect Community with the Arts & Sciences

TEMPE, AZ – The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦBK), the nation’s oldest academic honor society, presented ASU’s Project Humanities with its inaugural Key of Excellence Award and its $5,000 cash prize today at an evening reception celebrating the arts and sciences at the ASU Art Museum.

"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 across the country that reflect the relevance and importance of the arts and sciences to their communities.  We aim to show decision makers focused only on vocational training that the benefits of a broad-based arts and sciences curriculum are real and tangible."

Project Humanities sponsors or co-sponsors approximately 100 programs a year. It received “unanimous recommendation for its leadership in local and national conversations about the breadth, depth, and value of the humanities across disciplines,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill, head of its National Office in Washington, D.C. “Initiatives, such as The Encoded Textile Project, Science Café, Vital Voices, Poesia del Sol, and Top 10 Questions the Humanities Will Answer this Year, successfully blend academic research, community outreach, student development, and interdisciplinary approaches in compelling frameworks created by and enjoyed throughout the community.”

Neal Lester, who helped create and has directed Project Humanities since its inception, accepted the award and the $5,000 cash prize to support its future work. “What an honor to have this recognition from such a distinguished national organization, whose name and brand signal excellence,” said Lester.  “As Project Humanities continues to create and coordinate public and research programs, we will continue to be very deliberate and strategic in identifying diverse collaborations and partnerships that help us tell our story of the potential and the proven impact of ‘talking, listening, connecting.”

ΦBK invites interested parties to nominate for consideration organizations such as nonprofits, state agencies, colleges and universities, and other programs for the Key of Excellence Awards by completing a brief form. To nominate an organization for The Key of Excellence Awards, please visit


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 has launched a multi-year National Arts & Sciences Initiative to strengthen support for the value of the arts and sciences today. The initiative will demonstrate that a broad-based arts and sciences education expands opportunity, drives ingenuity and innovation, and makes a strong investment in America. Find facts and statistics about the arts and sciences at .

About Project Humanities

ASU Project Humanities strives to be the leader in local, national, international conversations about the breadth, depth, and value of humanities study and understanding across disciplines. Project Humanities seeks to connect all four ASU campuses and local communities in talking, listening, and connecting. We further seek to establish and lead multidisciplinary research opportunities and to engage local, national, and international communities in humanities discussions.