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.

In recent years, several more Institutes have been added that focus on the intersection of student interests and Vermont workforce needs. As of 2017, GIV partners with ten Vermont colleges to hold eleven residential summer Institutes and two residential Winter Weekends serving over 600 young Vermonters each year.  With contributions from many professionals, schools, business and organizational partners, the GIV Institutes harness the very best of Vermont’s resources to teach and inspire students to reach their full potential.

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 at Johnson State College 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. The Vermont legislature passes H.C.R. 120 recognizing GIV.

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 by embarking on an ambitious Board-led initiative to serve more deserving young Vermonters each year.

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 with an independently-supervised long-term alumni outcomes study.

2014: GIV adds a new Entrepreneurship Institute while the IT Institute transforms into the Information Technology and Digital Media Institute, still at Champlain College.

2016: Two popular new summer Institutes are offered, one in Writing through a partnership with Bennington College and the other in Astronomy in collaboration with the Northern Skies Observatory, the Fairbanks Museum, and Lyndon State College.

2017: GIV launches a new summer Institute in Astronomy, Design and Building with new partner Norwich University.