Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction

By Anne Tria Wise

What happens when a poet, a paleontologist, an astrophysicist, an historian, and a mathematician walk into a room? We look forward to exploring that question with you when the Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction event series kicks off in Chicago on May 10, 2016.

At Phi Beta Kappa, we strongly believe that the arts and sciences make communities key places to live, work, and play. Through our new Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction event series, we’re committing to making sure more people know it, too. 

The Cities of Distinction event series will shine a spotlight on cities that recognize the value of the arts and sciences to their communities. Phi Beta Kappa will work with municipal leaders to recognize four local organizations with $2,500 prizes for their successful efforts to engage broader audiences with the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or mathematics.

We will also connect new audiences to notable arts and sciences scholars in their communities through public “lightning talks,” where several presenters will convey key ideas in fun, accessible, and quick presentations that are free and open to the public. Each speaker will have just five minutes to give audiences a glimpse into how top thinkers approach some of life’s big questions.  

Finally, we will help to cultivate the next generation of arts and sciences students through Arts & Sciences Work presentations. These events will help students explore how the arts and sciences can work for them and provide tips to market their arts and sciences experiences to employers.

For more information, contact the National Arts & Sciences Initiative at

Anne Tria Wise is the director of the National Arts & Sciences Initiative at Phi Beta Kappa.