Phi Kappa Phi Awards $100,000 Excellence in Innovation Award to Tulane University

May 16, 2016

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi today announced Tulane University as the inaugural recipient of its $100,000 Excellence in Innovation Award. The award, given once per biennium, recognizes Tulane for achievement in finding powerful solutions to local, regional, national and global challenges through the university’s Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.

Founded in 2014, the Taylor Center is a university-wide initiative that implements a range of academic, co-curricular and research opportunities through programming that includes community partnerships, student-led activities, visiting professors, student fellowships, service-learning components, award programs and social ventures. Each facet of the Taylor Center, exemplified by its transdisciplinary methods, works together to provide sustainable solutions to challenges faced in the environment, society, education, health care and beyond.

“Phi Kappa Phi is delighted to recognize Tulane University with its first Excellence in Innovation Award,” said Society Executive Director Mary Todd. “The Phyllis M. Taylor Center’s emphasis on the interdisciplinary intersection of thought and action reflects Phi Kappa Phi’s own multidisciplinary nature, while engaging Tulane students and faculty in creative applied learning both on and beyond their campus.”

Tulane, on behalf of its efforts with the Taylor Center, was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Innovation Award by a jury of emeritus presidents and provosts during a two-part screening process. The university was first selected as one of six semifinalists before advancing as a top three finalist. The pool of entries represented inventive, multifaceted projects at institutions across the United States. Each institution was assessed on its project’s ability to achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes to create systemic large-scale change.

"We are thrilled to receive this honor which recognizes Tulane's efforts to educate and inspire its students and researchers to pursue world-changing ideas and innovation," said Tulane President Michael A. Fitts. 

Tulane will accept the award in person at Phi Kappa Phi’s Biennial Convention in Atlanta, Ga., on July 30.

Since 1933, Phi Kappa Phi has awarded fellowships and grants to members and students on its chapter campuses. Currently, more than $500,000 is awarded annually through programs that last year recognized over 270 individuals. The Excellence in Innovation Award is the Society’s only award for collegiate institutions. The program launched in September with an invitation to 1,600 regionally accredited baccalaureate or higher degree-granting four-year colleges and universities.

The call for submissions for the 2018 Excellence in Innovation Award will open in the fall of 2017. For more details and to see the finalists’ portfolios, please visit

About Phi Kappa Phi
Phi Kappa Phi annually inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters at more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of second-term juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others." For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit us here.