An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education or higher learning, research, or honorary membership. The name traces back to Plato's school of philosophy, founded approximately 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill, north of Athens, Greece.
Before Akademia was a school, and even before Cimon enclosed its precincts with a wall, it contained a sacred grove of olive trees dedicated to Athena, the goddess of wisdom, outside the city walls of ancient Athens. The archaic name for the site was Hekademia, which by classical times evolved into Akademia and was explained, at least as early as the beginning of the 6th century BC, by linking it to an Athenian hero, a legendary "Akademos". The site of Akademia was sacred to Athena and other immortals.
Plato's immediate successors as "scholarch" of Akademia were Speusippus (347–339 BC), Xenocrates (339–314 BC), Polemon (314–269 BC), Crates (ca. 269–266 BC), and Arcesilaus (ca. 266–240 BC). Later scholarchs include Lacydes of Cyrene, Carneades, Clitomachus, and Philo of Larissa ("the last undisputed head of the Academy"). Other notable members of Akademia include Aristotle, Heraclides Ponticus, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Philip of Opus, Crantor, and Antiochus of Ascalon.