In 1984, Governor John D. Rockefeller, IV, started West Virginia's first Governor's School, the West Virginia Governor's Honors Academy (GHA). GHA is a project born of a partnership among education, business leaders, and state government. It is designed to stimulate and support excellence in education through a three-week residential summer program, which is provided without cost to 200 (originally 140) of the state's top achieving rising high school seniors.
The mission of the academy is to operate an academically rich environment designed for high ability/high achieving students in an institution of higher education, challenging them to grow intellectually, creatively, and socially in a culturally diverse atmosphere. Through a competitive bidding process, GHA has been hosted at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Shepherd College, , West Virginia University (three times), Marshall University, Concord College, West Virginia State College, Bethany College and the current site, Fairmont State University, in its second hosting experience.