|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., USA|
Chairman & CEO
|Wayne R. Reynolds|
|Catherine B. Reynolds|
The American Academy of Achievement, colloquially known as the Academy of Achievement, is an American non-profit educational 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.
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 from Malibu, California, to its new foundation headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
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" award 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 atomic arms race. Awardees at the inaugural ceremony also included engineers Charles Stark Draper and Kelly Johnson, General Douglas MacArthur and film director William Wyler. 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 award banquet annually since 1961.
On October 27, 2012, Academy celebrated its 50th anniversary with a summit in Washington, D.C.
The latest summit was held in New York City 2019.
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. With time, the event evolved into a gathering of speakers and panelists which The Wall Street Journal called in 1999 "perhaps the glitziest gathering of intellect and celebrity that no one has ever heard of."