Click here to watch a short video on the history of VIA.
In 1998, Dr. Neal H. Mayerson contacted Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman who was at the time conceiving of establishing a robust effort to focus social science on exploring what is best about human beings and how we use those best characteristics to build our best lives. The two decided to launch an effort of unprecedented magnitude to lay the groundwork for this new science of positive psychology. Dr. Mayerson created a non-profit organization (now the VIA Institute on Character) to do this work and provided the funding to support Dr. Seligman in orchestrating a diverse collection of scholars and practitioners that took three years and more than a million dollars to complete.
The work was presented in detail in a landmark publication, Character Strengths and Virtues (written by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman), and the VIA Inventory of Strengths Survey was posted on the Internet for people to take at no charge. In a relatively short period of time over 1 million people from around the world had taken the VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA Survey) and it became clear that VIA's work was resonating broadly and deeply. As a result, VIA began offering workshops and other opportunities for interested people to learn more.
VIA has since expanded to provide not only the VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA Survey) with the VIA Me! Character Strengths Profile, but new resources and tools for individuals, such as the VIA Youth Survey and VIA Youth Decoder Report, VIA Me Pathways Report and also reports for professionals through VIA PRO, including the VIA Pro Character Strengths Report, VIA Pro Lesser Strengths Report, VIA Pro Comparison Report, and the VIA Pro Team Report.