What is an Academy?

CAROL RUSSO, ACADEMY HISTORIAN

Picture of Plato
Picture of Plato – From Raphael’s School of Athens (1509)

“What exactly is an Academy? As history informs us, one of the earliest was the Platonic Academy founded in Florence, Italy in 1442 by Greek Scholars. Literary academies sprang up throughout Italy, France and Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. Comprised of a society of learned persons, academies throughout the centuries influences greatly the fields of education, art, literature, music, and science or some other cultural or intellectual area of endeavor.”

More than nine decades have passed since the New York Academy of Public Education was established in 1912. At that time, the leaders of this professional honorary organization focused its primary efforts on the advancement and progress of urban education. The Academy successfully provided a common forum and meeting ground in fostering educational activities between the professional community and the public-at-large.

How does one become a member of the Academy? Membership in the Academy is by invitation by the Board of Directors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction or recognition in the field of education. Individuals who have earned special merit or contributed to the advancement of educational concerns and standards may be considered candidates for membership in the Academy. Each proposed member must first receive the favorable endorsement of the Board of Directors. Life members are designated by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors.

As a non-profit organization, the operating revenues of the Academy are obtained from membership dues. The Academy has created a Medalist award annually honoring individuals who have made significant contributions in their fields and whose lives exemplify the Academy’s vision of service to society.

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