Bill Keyes hitchhiked from North Carolina to Washington, DC to pursue a dream of working in public policy. He realized that dream by working in a staff position at the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress and as a White House Senior Policy Advisor.
He is proud to be the founder and president of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship. The organization selects some of America’s best and brightest African American male college students for an intensive two-summer program in Washington DC. Among the 200 young men the Institute has served since 2003 are Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, Truman Scholars, Udall Scholars, and the recipients of numerous other prestigious academic honors. They have earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key International. They have earned PhD’s, MD’s, JD’s, MBA’s, and other degrees. And they are working as pastors, teachers, college professors, entrepreneurs, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and consultants.
During their time in the Institute, the scholars live together on a college campus, work at high level internships in their fields of interest, study economic and constitutional principles, meet privately with prominent public and private sector leaders, participate in professional development workshops, enjoy a variety of social activities, and encourage each other to pursue their highest and noblest ambitions.
Awards Keyes has received for his work in education include the Mac A. Stewart Distinguished Award for Service by the Todd A. Bell National Resource Center at Ohio State University, the Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence Award from the College Board, the Make A Difference Award from Epstein Becker & Green PC, and the Warrior Award at the 2017 International Colloquium on Black Males in Education.
Beyond the Institute, Bill Keyes is most active at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he has served on the Board of Trustees as Secretary, Chair of the External Relations Committee, Vice Chair of the University Affairs Committee, and a member of the Personnel Committee. He has served on the university’s Board of Visitors, the Graduate Education Advancement Board, the Board of Advisors of the top-ranked School of Media and Journalism (for more than 20 years) and the Board of Directors of the Media and Journalism Foundation. He helped create the Leadership Institute, which provided exposure and experiences to help students from underrepresented populations succeed in the classroom and beyond. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Board of Directors of the NC Study Center, a Christian ministry that provides a space for fellowship and offers a variety of programs, including the annual Wilberforce Conference, at which he has been a speaker.
Keyes is proud to have been tapped for the Order of the Golden Fleece, the most prestigious honorary society at UNC and the oldest university honor society of its kind in the nation. And, as a doctoral student, he was inducted into the Frank Porter Graham Honor Society.
He earned a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina. His dissertation was a rhetorical criticism of the voluminous collection of speeches and writing of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, who was president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967 and influenced the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other men who made significant impact in the world after graduating from Morehouse.
In keeping with his concern about the climate for free expression on college and university campuses, he accepted an invitation to participate in the Campus Free Expression Project of the Bipartisan Policy Center and supports the work of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, both located in Washington, DC.
Keyes and his family are members of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia and he is a member of the Beta Nu Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.