For immediate release October 16, 2014

Wisconsin Science Festival Receives Key of Excellence from Phi Beta Kappa


Prize Recognizes Exemplary Efforts to Engage Communities with Arts & Sciences 

MADISON, WI – The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦBK), the nation’s oldest and most-widely known academic honor society, presents the Wisconsin Science Festival with the Key of Excellence Award and its $10,000 prize at a reception tonight celebrating the arts and sciences at the Town Center of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Phi Beta Kappa will present the award at a ceremony being emceed by Steve Paulson, Executive Producer and interviewer for Wisconsin Public Radio’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge.” UW-Madison Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Sarah Mangelsdorf and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Morgridge Institute for Research Trustee Patricia Lipton will accept the award in support of the festival’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 arts and sciences education expands opportunity, drives ingenuity, and invests in America."

The Wisconsin Science Festival is a statewide celebration of creativity and scientific discovery. “It was chosen for its exemplary efforts to blend science with the arts and humanities to cultivate curiosity, inspire discovery, and grow knowledge among citizens of all ages and backgrounds. The festival truly showcases the value of the public’s investment in higher education by the people of Wisconsin,” said Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill, head of its National Office in Washington, D.C.

Last year 32,000 people in 20 cities across Wisconsin participated in more than 100 interactive exhibits, workshops, and conversations with leading researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“This is terrific and very encouraging recognition. It helps validate our efforts to share science and the creative process more broadly,” says Heisler, who also directs programming for WARF which, along with UW-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research, is a primary organizer of the festival.

The festival, slated for Oct. 16-19, is headquartered on the UW-Madison campus, in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery with events throughout the city and all over the state. The Wisconsin Book Festival is also a key programming partner for 2014. 


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 The Wisconsin Science Festival

The mission of the Wisconsin Science Festival is to inspire and engage us all in the enterprise of science and discovery; to cultivate curiosity and communicate the power of knowledge and creativity to change our world view; to promote innovation and to cultivate the next generation of global citizens. The Wisconsin Science Festival is produced by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW–Madison, and the Morgridge Institute for Research in partnership with a growing coalition of Madison's science and arts community.