1980 - CHARLES PETERS JR., from Charleston, former legislator, publisher of The Washington Monthly.
1981 - SHARON ROCKEFELLER, public broadcasting advocate, wife of Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
1982 - ARTHUR RECHT, Wheeling circuit judge who mandated equality between rich and poor county school systems.
1983 - JAMES "BUCK" HARLESS, Mingo County lumber and coal mogul, philanthropist.
1984 - MARY LOU RETTON, from Fairmont, Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics.
1985 - LOUISE McNEIL PEASE, from Pocahontas County, state poet laureate.
1986 - DALE NITZSCHKE, president of Marshall University, leader in innovative educational concepts.
1987 - ROBERTA EMERSON, curator who expanded Huntington Museum of Art.
1988 - DON NEHLEN, football coach who led WVU to an 11-0 season.
1989 - MICHAEL CAREY, U.S. attorney who cleaned up corruption in Mingo County and state government.
1990 - SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD, chosen a third time for bringing billions of dollars worth of federal projects to West Virginia.
1991 - SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER, legislator, secretary of state, governor and U.S. senator.
1992 - LYELL CLAY, HAZEL RUBY McQUAIN, CHARLIE ERICKSON, JOAN EDWARDS and other philanthopists - "The Givers" who support West Virginia projects.
1993 - The entireWVU FOOTBALL TEAM, for another undefeated season.
1994 - HENRY LOUIS "SKIP" GATES, Mineral County native who became Harvard's top black scholar, won a MacArthur "genius award" and wrote a book about his boyhood in West Virginia.
1995 - ROBERT C. FRASURE, from Morgantown, a deputy assistant secretary of state who was killed while trying to negotiate peace in Bosnia's civil war.
1996 - GASTON CAPERTON, upon completing two terms as a successful, progressive governor, whose tenure brought economic growth and few scandals.
1997 - ELIZABETH HALLANAN, one of America's few female federal judges, who reformed child support and voided a state plan for government-sponsored religion in schools.
1998 - ADM. JOSEPH LOPEZ, a Fayette County native who rose through the ranks to command U.S. forces in Bosnia and the Mediterranean.
1999 - BOB PRUETT, Marshall University football coach who selflessly turned down big-money offers - and his CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM.
2000 - JOHN CHAMBERS JR., president of the Internet giant, Cisco Systems, which enables computers to communicate, thus spurring the Information Age.
2001 - The WEST VIRGINIA NATIONAL GUARD, for a year of duty against floods, forest fires and terrorism.
2002 - SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD, a courageous lone voice resisting the plunge to war in Iraq.
2003 - PFC. JESSICA LYNCH of Wirt County, who became America's hero after she was severely injured, captured and then rescued in Iraq fighting.
2004 - CHARLIE JONES, longtime West Virginia barge and coal operator, providing jobs through one of the state's few home-based corporations.
2005 - WEST VIRGINIA SOLDIERS serving, fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their burdened families at home.
2006 - DAVID HARDESTY for his long years of fine leadership at West Virginia University.
2007 - JENNIFER GARNER for her success as a movie and Broadway actress, along with humanitarian works and public devotion to her home state.
2008 - BETTY SCHOENBAUM, Charleston philanthropist, for her many gifts enhancing life in the state capital.
2009 - JIM JUSTICE, Greenbrier County philanthropist who saved The Greenbrier resort and helps numerous West Virginia causes.
2010 - GEN. ALLEN TACKETT, retiring after long career of leading and improving the West Virginia National Guard.
2011 - LANDAU EUGENE MURPHY JR., Logan County singer who won $1 million in the nationwide "America's Got Talent" television show competition and became a popular and positive image of West Virginia.