Academy of Achievement

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Academy of Achievement
Logo of the Academy of Achievement
Formation 1961
Type Non-profit organization
Headquarters Washington, D.C., USA
Chairman & CEO
Wayne R. Reynolds
Vice Chairman
Catherine B. Reynolds

The Academy of Achievement, officially known as the American Academy of Achievement, is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that gives young people an opportunity to meet notable individuals, such as through an annual event called the International Achievement Summit. The organization was founded in 1961 in Malibu, California[citation needed] by photographer Brian Reynolds and moved to Washington in the 1990s.


The Academy of Achievement was founded in 1961 by Sports Illustrated and LIFE magazine photographer Brian Reynolds,[1] using his earnings from photography as startup funding.[1] He led the organization as its executive director.[2] In 1985, Reynolds' son Wayne assumed leadership.[1][3] In the 1990s, Reynolds moved the organization from Malibu, California to its current headquarters in Washington, D.C.[4]


The first event hosted by the Academy was a "Banquet of the Golden Plate" on September 9, 1961 in Monterey, California,[5] which was named after the hotel's "gold plate service" that was only used for special occasions. The Golden Plate is awarded for an individual's contributions to science, the arts, public service, sports and industry.[5][6] The first honorees were chosen by a national board of governors.[5][6] Several hundred graduate students from the U.S. and overseas attend the "International Achievement Summit" each year. The summits were originally attended by high school students chosen based on their academic achievement and extracurricular activities.[7]


The Academy, which operates as a non-profit organization, was initially funded with Brian Reynolds' personal wealth. More recently, donations from corporate sponsors support its activities.[4][3][8] In 2007, the Washington Post reported that the Academy is a beneficiary of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, which is led by Catherine Reynolds. The Academy has received $9 million of the more than $100 million in donations made by the Foundation to an array of arts, education and social enterprise organizations.[9]


  1. ^ a b c O'Connor, Anahad (June 7, 2005). "Obituary: Hy Peskin, 89, Photographer; Sharp Pictures, Sharp Angles". New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Banquet Will Honor 50 for Achievements". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 7, 1961. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Schudel, Matt (June 5, 2005). "Brian Blaine Reynolds, Also Known as Hy Peskin, Dies; Accomplished Sports Photographer Founded Academy of Achievement". Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Montgomery, David (April 4, 2009). "D.C. philanthropists Catherine and Wayne Reynolds pledge millions". Washington Post. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "Dazzling Decorations, Fine Food: Golden Plate Planned for 1962: First Annual Event Wins High Praise". Monterey Peninsula Herald. September 11, 1961. 
  6. ^ a b "Banquet Will Honor 50 for Achievements". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 7, 1961. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ Burget Bailey, Annette (May 31, 1999). "LEADERS GETS `SALUTE' FOR EXCELLENCE". LA Daily News. 
  8. ^ Boyle, Katherine (March 29, 2013). "Wayne Reynolds makes a lavish push for a bold plan for the Corcoran". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ Paley, Amit R. and Strauss, Valerie (July 16, 2007). "Student Loan Nonprofit a Boon for CEO". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 

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