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Director of Development
College of Education
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release: Immediate

Wallace family gift benefits UI talented and gifted program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- H. B. and Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Ariz., and their children, Henry Daniel Wallace and Linda Wallace Gray, have pledged $300,000 to the University of Iowa Foundation for the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in the University of Iowa College of Education.

In addition, Jocelyn Wallace gave $50,000 to establish an endowment that will support an existing Belin-Blank Center ceremony that recognizes talented and gifted students and their teachers.

The Wallaces will contribute $300,000 over three years to support the National Rural Schools Conference in Gifted Education. The conference will bring several hundred researchers and educators together on the UI campus to focus on how rural schools can work with gifted and talented students and how to train their teachers. The first conference will be held within the next two years.

The program is appropriate for Iowa because "a high percentage of the brightest students are in rural areas," H. B. Wallace said. "Often those students are not given opportunities or are left out of special programs. Certainly our rural communities have some of the very best students."

H. B. Wallace's family has had close contact with rural residents. His father was editor of Wallace's Farmer newspaper, founded Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and was U.S. secretary of agriculture and vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Nicholas Colangelo, Belin-Blank Center director and Myron and Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education, said, "Rural gifted students are the most 'invisible' in terms of access to gifted and talented programs. The Wallace family has provided the resources for making it possible for the center to become the national leader in rural issues and giftedness."

The ceremony supported by Jocelyn Wallace will pay tribute to outstanding teachers. "Particular teachers will be identified and honored," she said. "I think a teacher who can recognize that a child is brilliant is wonderful, and to give a child that opportunity is a worthy endeavor."

Colangelo added, "The ceremony is one of the significant ways that the center recognizes talented students and their teachers. It has a strong personal touch. The gift ensures that the ceremony will become a permanent part of the center's future."

The Wallaces are long-time UI supporters. They also support the Belin-Blank Center's National Research Symposium on Talent Development and National Policy Conference, which provide additional motivation for gifted and talented students and promote understanding by educators.

The Belin-Blank Center, created in 1988, offers workshops, programs, and research to help gifted children and their teachers reach their potential. The center draws on the UI's strengths in areas related to gifted education to challenge and motivate gifted children in a number of disciplines. The center expanded its mission to the international level in 1995 and is now using its staff expertise to work with other countries in furthering gifted education.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to provide support for programs at the UI.