Governor’s Honors Academy takes over Marshall


Franklin Norton

Governor’s Honors Academy, led by Dan Hollis and Rebecca Turnbull, walk down Fourth Avenue to the fireworks on Tuesday, July 3.

Universities tend to be quiet over the summer, but not when nearly 200 high school honors students from all over the state come to town.

For the first time in 15 years, the Governor’s Honors Academy, a three-week summer program for academically motivated upcoming West Virginia high school seniors, has come to Marshall University.

“We all know how important honors students are to the future of West Virginia, and we’re excited to give students the opportunity to foster lasting mentorships and friendships during their time at GHA,” GHA co-dean Mallory Carpenter said in a news release. Carpenter works as the program manager for national scholarships in the Honors College. “We’ve modeled our program after the same core objectives we have in Marshall’s Honors College, which will give students a taste of college life while demonstrating the level of excellence we have come to expect from honors students.”

For the duration of the program, the students attend two classes daily and participate in other activities the rest of the day.  This year’s program is focused on“Growing a Culture of Honors and Your Digital World,” a combination of STEM topics and the arts and humanities. Students can take classes ranging from Make Some Noise: Popular Music and Political Advocacy to Discrete Math, Competition Math, and the Math of Casinos.

Doug Squire, professor of mathematics at WVU, who teaches the Math of Casinos, has been teaching at GHA for 8 years now. Having been a student in the program 20 years ago, he knows personally how powerful the impact can be on students.

“It changed my outlook on everything,” Squire said. “Twenty years ago, I was a lot different coming in than I was leaving.”

Squire said the program helped him to gain a certain pride in his state, as he got to see all that West Virginia had to offer students like him.

“West Virginia gets a bad rep and state schools get a bad rep, and it’s just not like that at all, and I think they see that a lot here,” Squire said.

The students will be on campus and exploring Huntington through July 21.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]