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 to address that need with the blessing of then-Governor Richard Snelling.

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 2016, GIV partners with thirteen Vermont colleges to hold nine residential summer Institutes and two residential Winter Weekends serving over 600 young Vermonters each year.  Institutes have been added to reflect student interests and workforce demands in order to prepare Vermont’s students for the world beyond high school.

Since 1983, over 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: The Arts Institute enrolls its first overflowing class of young people with the direction of Susan Sgorbati.

1985: The Institute on Current Issues & Youth Activism (then called International Affairs) is created by John Ungerleider at the School for International Training, and the Science & Technology Institute 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: The Science and Technology Institute grows into two separate 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 takes place at Middlebury College.

2002:  Two new GIV Institutes, one in Education and the other in Information Technology, are born.

2003:  One-day Artshops are introduced 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.

2011:  GIV celebrates the milestone of serving 10,000 young people.

2012: A sliding scale tuition model is introduced 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.

2013: GIV celebrates 30 years of providing world-class learning opportunities for high school students, and an alumni survey testifies to the benefits of GIV.

2014: GIV adds a new Entrepreneurship Institute and the IT Institute expands to become the Information Technology and Digital Media Institute, still at Champlain College.

2016: GIV adds two new summer Institutes – one in Writing at Bennington College and the other in Astronomy in collaboration with the Northern Skies Observatory.