GIV began in 1982 when Vermont’s Commissioner of Education and the Director of the Vermont Arts Council recognized an extraordinary deficiency in arts education in the state’s public schools. The Governor’s Institute on the Arts was established with the blessing of then-Governor Richard Snelling in 1983 to address that need.

The new Arts Institute’s immediate impact made it apparent that Vermont’s high-potential students could benefit from opportunities to delve deeply into other topics generally unavailable in Vermont high schools.  New Institutes focused on Science and Public Affairs were followed by Engineering, Asian Cultures, Environmental Science, Mathematics and Information Technology.  Later, a Winter Weekend was added to make programs accessible to even more students.

As of 2014, GIV holds nine summer Institutes and two Winter Weekends on six college campuses across Vermont. GIV serves over 500 young Vermonters each year.

Since 1983, nearly 10,000 students have embraced the unique opportunity to deepen their educations through GIV, and GIV has become one of the longest-running Governor’s Schools in the country.


1982: GIV is founded by Christine Graham, Steven Kaagan, Ellen Lovell, and Stephan Morse.  Christine Graham is the organization’s first Executive Director.

1983: With the founding leadership of Susan Sgorbati, the Arts Institute enrolls its first class of young people.

1985: Institutes in Current Issues & Youth Activism (then called International Affairs) is created by John Ungerleider at the School for International Training, and Science & Technology begins at UVM.

1988:  Founding Executive Director Christine Graham is succeeded by David Gibson.

1993:  Jean Olson takes over leadership as GIV’s third Executive Director.

1995: Science and Technology is replaced with two new Institutes: Engineering and a new Science & Technology Institute based at UVM’s Geology Department.

1996:  With the support of the Freeman Foundation, Juefei Wang founds the Asian Cultures Institute at UVM.

1997:  The first Winter Weekend is held at Middlebury College.

2002:  New GIV Education and Information Technology Institutes are born.

2003:  One-day Artshops take place throughout the state.

2004: The Vermont State Math Coalition partners with GIV to create the Mathematical Sciences Institute.

2010: Karen Taylor Mitchell becomes GIV’s fourth Executive Director in 28 years.

2013: GIV celebrates its 30th summer providing world-class education for  Vermont’s high school students! GIV switches to a sliding scale tuition model to make the Institutes   more affordable for all Vermont families. GIV partners with the Farm to Plate Network to offer a brand new Special Topics Institute called Farms, Food and Your Future at     Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

2014: A new Special Topics: Entrepreneurship Institute is added.