The Academy of Achievement, officially known as the American Academy of Achievement, was founded in 1961 by Sports Illustrated and LIFE magazine photographer Brian Reynolds to bring together accomplished people from diverse fields in order to network and to encourage the next generation of young leaders.
The first event hosted by the Academy was a "Banquet of the Golden Plate" on September 9, 1961, in Monterey, California, 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. The first honorees were chosen by a national board of governors.
In 1985, Reynold's son, Wayne, and his son's wife, Catherine B. Reynolds took over the leadership. In the 1990s, Reynolds moved the organization from Malibu, California, to Washington, D.C.
On October 27, 2012, the Banquet of the Golden Plate celebrated its 50th anniversary in Washington D.C.
The Academy also hosts the International Achievement Summit each year, attended by graduate students 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 evolving into a gathering of speakers and panelists which the Wall Street Journal called "perhaps the glitziest gathering of intellect and celebrity that no one has ever heard of."
|Academy of Achievement|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., USA|
Chairman & CEO
|Wayne R. Reynolds|
|Catherine B. Reynolds|
Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., (born August 23, 1944) is an American physician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as 14th Surgeon General of the United States from 1990 to 1993. Novello is the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General. Novello also served as Commissioner of Health for the State of New York from 1999 to 2006.David McCullough
David Gaub McCullough (; born July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McCullough earned a degree in English literature from Yale University. His first book was The Johnstown Flood (1968); and he has since written nine more on such topics as Harry S. Truman, John Adams, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Wright brothers. McCullough has also narrated numerous documentaries, such as The Civil War by Ken Burns, as well as the 2003 film Seabiscuit; and he hosted American Experience for twelve years.
McCullough's two Pulitzer Prize-winning books, Truman and John Adams, have been adapted by HBO into a TV film and a miniseries, respectively.Dorothy Hamill
Dorothy Stuart Hamill (born July 26, 1956) is a retired American figure skater. She is the 1976 Olympic champion and 1976 World champion in ladies' singles.Edward J. Zore
Edward J. Zore (born 1945) is the former president and CEO of Northwestern Mutual and current chairman. He became Northwestern Mutual's 16th president on March 31, 2000 and chief executive officer on June 1, 2001. Zore joined Northwestern Mutual investment department in 1969. He served as the company's
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer and trustee of Northwestern Mutual. He was inducted as an honoree of the SMEI Academy of Achievement in 2003, and was named among the 100 most influential people in business ethics in 2008. Zore retired from Northwestern Mutual CEO on June 30, 2010. He was succeeded by John Schlifske.
He is a former chairman of the board of the American Council of Life Insurers, and an honorary board member of the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation. He is also an advisory board member of the Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management.
Zore obtained his B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.Harvey Mackay
Harvey Mackay (born 1932) is a businessman, author and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick. His weekly column gives career and inspirational advice and is featured in over 100 newspapers. Mackay has authored seven New York Times bestselling books, including three number one bestsellers. He is also a member of the National Speakers Association Council of Peers Award for Excellence Hall of Fame.Hilary Swank
Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress and producer. She has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Critics Choice Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Swank made her film debut with a minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) before receiving her breakthrough role in the fourth installment of The Karate Kid franchise, The Next Karate Kid (1994). On television, she starred as Carly Reynolds on the eighth season of the Fox teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1997 to 1998. Swank was the subject of widespread critical acclaim for her performance as Brandon Teena, a transgender man, in the biographical film Boys Don't Cry (1999), for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. For her portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald in Clint Eastwood's sports drama film Million Dollar Baby (2004), Swank again received the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
Swank has also starred in other films including The Gift (2000), Insomnia (2002), The Core (2003), Iron Jawed Angels (2004), Red Dust (2004), The Reaping (2007), P.S. I Love You (2007), Freedom Writers (2007), Amelia (2009), The Homesman (2014), You're Not You (2014) and Logan Lucky (2017). In 2018, she portrayed Abigail Harris Getty on the FX television series Trust.Hy Peskin
Hyman "Hy" Peskin (November 5, 1915 – June 2, 2005) was an American photographer known for several famous photographs of American sports people and celebrities published by Sports Illustrated and Life. He was a pioneer of sports photography, with his work being ranked amongst the best sports photojournalism of the 20th century. In 1966 he changed his name to Brian Blaine Reynolds, and founded the Academy of Achievement, bringing young people together with statesmen and Nobel Prize winners.James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones (born January 17, 1931) is an American actor. His career has spanned more than 60 years, and he has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors and "one of the greatest actors in American history". Since his Broadway debut in 1957, Jones has won many awards, including a Tony Award for his role in The Great White Hope, which also earned him a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the film version of the play. Jones has won three Emmy Awards, including two in the same year in 1990. He is also known for his voice roles as Darth Vader in the Star Wars film series and Mufasa in Disney's The Lion King, as well as many other film, stage and television roles.
Jones has been said to possess "one of the best-known voices in show business, a stirring basso profondo that has lent gravel and gravitas" to his projects, including live-action acting, voice acting, and commercial voice-overs. In 1970, he won a Grammy Award for Great American Documents. As a child, Jones had a stutter. In his episode of Biography, he said he overcame the affliction through poetry, public speaking, and acting, although it lasted for several years. A pre-med major in college, he went on to serve in the United States Army during the Korean War before pursuing a career in acting. On November 12, 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award. On November 9, 2015, Jones received the Voice Arts Icon Award. On May 25, 2017, he received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Harvard University and concluded the event's benediction with "May the Force be with you".List of awards and nominations received by Amy Grant
Amy Grant is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and actress, best known for her Christian music. She has been referred to as "The Queen of Christian Pop". As of 2009, Grant remains the best-selling contemporary Christian music singer ever, having sold over 30 million units worldwide.
Grant made her debut as a teenager, and gained fame in Christian music during the 1980s with such hits as "Father's Eyes," "El Shaddai", and "Angels". In 1986, she scored her first number one charting Billboard Hot 100 hit song in a duet with Peter Cetera "The Next Time I Fall". During the 1980s and 1990s, she became one of the first gospel artists to cross over into mainstream pop on the heels of her successful albums Unguarded and Heart in Motion, the latter of which included the number-one single "Baby Baby."
Grant has won six Grammy Awards, 22 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, and had the first Christian album ever to go Platinum. Heart in Motion is her highest selling album, with over five million copies sold in the United States alone. She was honored with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 for her contributions to the entertainment industry.Louise Glück
Louise Elisabeth Glück (born April 22, 1943) is an American poet. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2003, after serving as a Special Bicentennial Consultant three years prior in 2000. She won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2014 for Faithful and Virtuous Night.Mary Jordan (journalist)
Mary Catherine Jordan (born November 10, 1960) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, best-selling author and National Correspondent for the Washington Post.For 14 years she was a foreign correspondent and she has written from nearly 40 countries. With her husband, Post journalist Kevin Sullivan, Jordan ran the newspaper's bureaus in Tokyo, Mexico City and London. Jordan also was the founding editor and head of content for Washington Post Live, which organizes political debates, conferences and news events for the media company.
Jordan and Sullivan are the authors of the Number #1 Bestselling book, Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, that was released in April, 2015. Hope is written with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, two of the women who were kidnapped and held for a decade in Cleveland, Jordan's hometown.
Jordan also interviews some of the world's most accomplished people for the popular “What it Takes” podcast created by the nonprofit Academy of Achievement. Among those she has spoken with as part of this free podcast series, include singing legend Julie Andrews, artificial intelligence innovator Demis Hassabis, and Irish novelist John Banville.Paul Henderson (journalist)
Paul Henderson III (January 13, 1939 – December 7, 2018) was an American journalist and private investigator who won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 1982 as a reporter for The Seattle Times.
Henderson was born in Washington D.C., but moved to Beatrice, Nebraska as a young child. For high school and junior college, he went to Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College in Lexington, Missouri, graduating in 1959. After three years in the U.S. Army, he continued his education at Creighton University and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Henderson began his career as a journalist at the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil (1962–1966), before moving on to the Omaha World-Herald (1966–1967), and The Seattle Times (1967–1985). While working in the newsroom as an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times in 1981, Henderson took a call from a man named Steve Titus. Titus explained to Henderson that he was about to be sentenced for a sexual assault he did not commit. Henderson looked into the case and wrote a series of three stories entitled "One Man's Battle to Clear His Name, a story of rape, wrongful conviction and vindication", challenging the circumstantial evidence against Titus. When officials followed up on Henderson's leads, they found a man who resembled Titus and who eventually confessed to the crime. The report convinced a judge to reverse Titus' conviction. Henderson won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for his series. However, Titus, who had been an up-and-coming executive with a fast-food franchise with no more than a parking ticket on his record, had his career destroyed, and he died of a heart attack at age 36, just as he was on the verge of winning a major wrongful-conviction settlement.
Motivated by his experience with the Titus case, Henderson left the Seattle Times in 1985 to become a private investigator. Since 1988, Henderson has been an investigator for Centurion Ministries, a small nonprofit organization based in Princeton, New Jersey dedicated to vindicating the wrongfully convicted. It has helped free more than 30 people.
In addition to winning the Pulitzer, Henderson is also the winner of the C.B. Blethan Award (1977 and 1982), the Roy W. Howard Newspaper Award, Scripps-Howard Foundation (1982), and he was named an Outstanding Achiever by the American Academy of Achievement (1982).
Henderson died on December 7, 2018 at the age of 79 after a battle with lung cancer.Reid Hoffman
Reid Garrett Hoffman CBE (born August 5, 1967) is an American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman was the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking. He is currently a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. On the Forbes 2019 list of the world's billionaires, Hoffman was ranked #1349 with a net worth of US$1.8 billion.Robert S. Strauss
Robert Schwarz Strauss (October 19, 1918 – March 19, 2014) was a figure in American politics and diplomacy whose service dated back to future president Lyndon Johnson’s first congressional campaign in 1937. By the 1950s, he was associated in Texas politics with the conservative faction of the Democratic Party led by Johnson and John Connally. He served as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee between 1972 and 1977 and served under President Jimmy Carter as the U.S. Trade Representative and special envoy to the Middle East. Strauss was selected by President George H. W. Bush to be the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1991 and after the USSR's collapse, he served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 1991 until 1992. Strauss had advised and represented U.S. presidents over three administrations and for both major U.S. political parties.
An accomplished lawyer, Strauss founded the law firm now known as Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in 1945, which had grown to be one of the largest in the world with offices in 15 cities and employing over 900 lawyers and professionals worldwide. His business activities included serving on the Texas Banking Commission and as Chairman of the U.S.-Russia Business Council.
Strauss was inducted into the Academy of Achievement in 2003 and was recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award, on January 16, 1981. He was a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and The Forum for International Policy, and was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.
Strauss had occupied academic chairs and lecture positions, including one as the Lloyd Bentsen Chair at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. He was also the namesake of The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas. Additionally, Strauss had an interest in biomedical issues and had endowed two chairs at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas: the Helen and Robert S. Strauss Professorship in Pediatric Neurology and the Helen and Robert S. Strauss Professorship in Urology.Sir Speedy
Sir Speedy is a printing and marketing services company headquartered in Mission Viejo, California, United States.
Founded in 1968, the company has nearly 600 franchises in 13 countries. Sir Speedy is known as the "world's largest printing, copying, and document management franchisor serving small and mid-sized businesses".Sir Speedy has received numerous awards and industry recognition including: Franchise Times Top 200, Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Quick Printing Top 100, Printing Impressions 400, All Business Allstar 300, Franchise 50 Award, International Franchise Association’s Franchise of the Year Award, CEO, Don Lowe, was featured as "Man of the Year" in Quick Printing magazine in 1995, CEO, Don Lowe, was inducted into the Sales & Marketing Executives International Academy of Achievement Hall of Fame in 2004.Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks is an American playwright, screenwriter, musician and novelist. Her 2001 play Topdog/Underdog won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2002; Parks is the first African American woman to achieve this honor for drama.Thomas Starzl
Thomas Earl Starzl (March 11, 1926 – March 4, 2017) was an American physician, researcher, and expert on organ transplants. He performed the first human liver transplants, and has often been referred to as "the father of modern transplantation."Two Kinds
"Two Kinds" is a short story from the book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. It was first published in 1989. The short story outlines the main character Jing-mai Woo's childhood and the effects of her mother's high expectations for her life. It is clear that some of the events in the short story reflect events that happened in the author's life. For example, the main character's mother left China, leaving behind her family and children. The same is true with Amy Tan's mother. In 1993, a movie based on the book was made.Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp (; born July 1, 1941) is an American dancer, choreographer, and author who lives and works in New York City. In 1966, she formed her own company Twyla Tharp Dance. Her work often uses classical music, jazz, and contemporary pop music.
From 1971 to 1988, Twyla Tharp Dance toured extensively around the world, performing original works. In 1973, Tharp choreographed Deuce Coupe to the music of The Beach Boys for the Joffrey Ballet. Deuce Coupe is considered to be the first crossover ballet. Later she choreographed Push Comes to Shove (1976), which featured Mikhail Baryshnikov and is now thought to be the best example of the crossover ballet.
In 1988, Twyla Tharp Dance merged with American Ballet Theatre, since which time ABT has held the world premieres of 16 of Tharp's works.
On May 24, 2018, she was awarded the Doctor of Arts degree by Harvard University.