The American Academy of Achievement, colloquially known as the Academy of Achievement, is a nonprofit educational organization that recognizes some of the highest-achieving people in diverse fields and gives them the opportunity to meet one another. The academy also brings together the leaders with promising graduate students for mentorship. It hosts an International Achievement Summit, which ends with an awards ceremony, during which new members are inducted into the academy. Founded in 1961 by Sports Illustrated and LIFE magazine photographer Brian Reynolds, the Academy of Achievement recognizes high achievers in public service, business, science and exploration, sports, and the arts. Reynolds established the academy after realizing that the famous people he photographed from different fields did not usually get to meet one another. A 1989 San Francisco Chronicle article called the organization "little-publicized but immensely powerful". According to William DeVries, who helped develop the first artificial heart, "It is a social network. Like a club. Now I can call Chuck Yeager up, or Philip 'Bo' Knight, and they'll return my calls, ask me out places. I promised myself I would never ask the people here for money, but I know a lot of scientists who do." Reynolds also wanted to bring together highly accomplished leaders with promising students, to inspire them. At the 1990 summit in Chicago, for example, student delegates "rubbed shoulders" with Ronald Reagan, Maya Angelou and Michael Jordan, and in 1995, students met with inductees including George H. W. Bush, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Lady Bird Johnson, Robin Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Rosa Parks. More information...

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