The American Academy of Achievement
, colloquially known as the Academy of Achievement
, is an American non-profiteducational organization
that brings together accomplished people from diverse fields with graduate students
in order to network
and to encourage and mentor
the next generation of young leaders.
The Academy hosts an annual International Achievement Summit, which ends with an awards ceremony, during which new members are inducted into the Academy.
The Academy was founded in 1961 by Sports Illustrated
and LIFE magazine
photographer Brian Reynolds.
His 1953 LIFE
cover photograph of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier sailing at Hyannis Port “helped shape the mystique of Camelot”
and was later selected by TIME as the 100 most influential images of all time.
Reynolds established the Academy to both empower and educate young people by bringing them together with leaders, the level of achievers he met on his many photographic assignments.
In 1985, Reynolds' son, Wayne Reynolds took over the leadership, becoming the executive director of the Academy
and, in 1999, was selected as the board chairman
In the 1990s, Reynolds moved the organization to its new foundation headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation donated $9 million to the Academy.
International Achievement Summit
On September 9, 1961, the Academy hosted its first International Achievement Summit.
The summit, held in Monterey, California
included a "Banquet of the Golden Plate" awards ceremony
, named for the "gold plate service" used for special occasions by the Palace Hotel
in San Francisco
, which provided the service for the ceremony. Physicist Edward Teller
was the keynote speaker
, in which he warned of the United States' poor performance in the atomicarms race
. Awardees at the inaugural ceremony also included engineers Charles Stark Draper
and Kelly Johnson
, General Douglas MacArthur
and film director William Wyler
. Nobel Prize
laureates Willard Libby
and Luis Walter Alvarez
were also 1961 awardees, the first group of more than 150 other Nobel Prize recipients that have been inducted into the Academy.
The first honorees were chosen by a national board of governors, but subsequent honorees have been selected by the Golden Plate Awards Council, which consists of prior Academy awardees.
The Golden Plate is awarded for an individual's contributions to science, the arts, public service, sports and industry.
The Academy has held a summit and awards banquet annually since 1961.
The roster of Golden Plate awardees who have participated in the summit include Steve Jobs
, Bill Gates
, Larry Ellison
, George Lucas
, Sally Ride
, Coretta Scott King
, John Lewis
, Ronald Reagan
, Barack Obama
, Jimmy Carter
, Gerald Ford
, George H. W. Bush
, Tenzing Norgay
, Mikhail Gorbachev
, Elie Wiesel
, Shimon Peres
, Oprah Winfrey
, Sidney Poitier
, Audrey Hepburn
, Francis Crick
, Jonas Salk
, Frederick Sanger
, John Bardeen
, Linus Pauling
, John Wayne
, Elizabeth Taylor
, Ruth Bader Ginsburg
, Michael Jordan
, Mickey Mantle
, John Wooden
, Denzel Washington
, August Wilson
, Stephen Sondheim
, Toni Morrison
, Bob Dylan
and Aretha Franklin
The 25th anniversary Academy summit was held in Washington, D.C. in June 1986. The program included an awards ceremony at Mount Vernon
in Virginia, which was narrated by Academy member Olivia de Havilland
Among the Academy members who participated in the 1986 program were Neil Armstrong
, John Glenn
, Alan Shepard
, Chuck Yeager
, Muhammad Ali
, Bo Jackson
, James Watson
, Loretta Lynn
, Ray Charles
, Steven Spielberg
, Leontyne Price
, Herman Wouk
, Gloria Vanderbilt
, Shirley Temple
, Mary Lou Retton
, Yousuf Karsh
, Michael DeBakey
, Denton Cooley
, Isidor Isaac Rabi
, Charles H. Townes
, John H. Johnson
, Stephen Bechtel Sr.
and Robert Rauschenberg
The 30th anniversary American Academy of Achievement summit was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
in New York City in June 1991. The Golden Plate awards ceremony was narrated by Academy member Oprah Winfrey
The 1991 honorees and Academy participants included Ralph Lauren
, Calvin Klein
, Oscar de la Renta
, Wynton Marsalis
, Norman Schwarzkopf
, Colin Powell
, Barbara Walters
, Beverly Sills
, Maya Angelou
, George Lucas
, Martin Scorsese
, Wallace Stegner
, Ken Burns
, Dizzy Gillespie
, and Sylvia Earle
. The keynote speaker of the summit symposium held at the United Nations
was Audrey Hepburn
who spoke about her life as an actress and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
. The Academy program was hosted by Awards Council members Henry R. Kravis
and Steven J. Ross
The 2017 International Achievement Summit
was held at Claridge's
in Mayfair, London. The awards ceremony was narrated by Academy member Jeremy Irons
The 2017 Golden Plate awardees included Simone Biles
, Michael Caine
, Jennifer Doudna
, Peter Gabriel
, Neil Gorsuch
, John Banville
, A. S. Byatt
, Demis Hassabis
, Kazuo Ishiguro
, Venki Ramakrishnan
, Norman Foster
, and Valentino
. Bill Clinton
was the keynote speaker. The summit included a luncheon at Waddesdon Manor
, the ancestral country house of the Rothschild family, hosted by Academy member Lord Jacob Rothschild
. The Academy program concluded with a dinner at Blenheim Palace
in Oxfordshire, hosted by the 12th Duke of Marlborough
and Academy member Roger Bannister
the first athlete to finish the mile run in under four minutes.
The 2019 International Achievement Summit
was held in New York City, and the Golden Plate Awardees included Andrew Lloyd Webber
, Nadia Murad
, Leymah Gbowee
, Daniel Kahneman
, Pete Townshend
, Roger Daltrey
, Van Morrison
, Orhan Pamuk
, Lynn Nottage
, James P. Allison
, Lucian Grainge
, Smokey Robinson
, and Ian McEwan
. The summit ended with a dinner and tour of the "Play It Loud" exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
, hosted by Academy member Jimmy Page
, guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin
The annual summit is attended by graduate students and young innovators, like Sergey Brin
and Larry Page
, who paused their PhD
studies to found Google
, from the U.S. and overseas.
The summits were originally attended by high school students chosen based on their academic achievement and extracurricular activities.
Other Academy delegate alumni include Taylor Swift
, Bryan Stevenson
, Pete Buttigieg
, Eric Lander
, Herschel Walker
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud
, Karl Deisseroth
, and Feng Zhang
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Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 16:51
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