The West Virginia Governor's Honors Academy is a three-week, summer residential program designed to stimulate and support excellence in
education for up to 175 (originally 140) of the state's top
achieving rising high school seniors and residents of the state of W.Va. The program is funded by the State Legislature as requested by the Governor. State funds provide tuition, room, board, and instructional materials for each student who attends the program on the site of a residential college campus. In addition, the hosting institution provides significant financial support.
The COVID-19 Pandemic led to changes in programming in 2020 and 2021, and GHA was a truncated, blended academy. Although it was not optimal, attendees agree that it was informative, motivating, and rewarding. In 2022, we were able to return to the on-campus model, and for 2023, the West Virginia Department of Education is elated to plan a second run of a full three-week on-campus GHA at Fairmont State University/
A non-credit program that seeks to create a unique experience for a select group of our state's best students and school citizens, GHA provides an intellectual atmosphere impossible to sustain in ordinary academic settings. The excitement of intellectual and artistic pursuits and the expectation of significant conceptual gains permeate all aspects of the participants’ lives for the full three weeks.The curriculum is designed as a unique supplement to the usual high school curriculum. It is neither an acceleration of high school nor an anticipation of college curricula. Students are led to explore cutting-edge theories in the arts and sciences and develop a greater understanding of how art, culture, and knowledge change with time. Students are challenged to develop the rigorous creative and intellectual skills that will be critical to their leading a well-lived life and for making positive contributions to their communities and to society at large. 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. 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, Marshall University (two times), Concord College, West Virginia State College, Bethany College, Fairmont State University, (two times), and WVU, (four times), The host for 2022-2024 is Fairmont State University.