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Director of Development
College of Education
UI Foundation News
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release: Immediate

$1 million gift supports Belin-Blank Center for gifted education

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Myron and Jacqueline Blank of Des Moines are continuing their generous support for the University of Iowa by establishing a $1 million endowment fund through the UI Foundation. The gift will be used to enhance technology at the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in the UI College of Education.

The endowment will provide a perpetual source of support for developing innovative technology to serve gifted students, their families, and their teachers.

"This generous gift from Myron and Jacqueline Blank will further assist us in our efforts to become a leading center for gifted education and talent development," said Nicholas Colangelo, Belin-Blank Center director and Myron and Jacqueline Blank Professor of Gifted Education. The Belin-Blank Center was established in 1988 with financial support from the Blanks and David Belin of Des Moines, and named for Belin's late wife, Connie.

Myron Blank is president of Central States Theatre Corporation, Des Moines; Jacqueline Blank is vice president and assistant secretary of the corporation.

The Blanks are not graduates of the UI but they are long-time UI supporters. In 1990 the couple received the Distinguished Friend of the University award from the UI Alumni Association. Also in 1990 they received the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Central Iowa Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.

The Blanks' involvement in the UI College of Education dates to 1979, when they established the Connie Belin Fellowship Program to help identify talented and gifted students in Iowa.

"We are delighted with the developments of the program for the gifted and talented under the direction of Nick Colangelo," Jacqueline Blank said. "With the advent of new technologies, our dream is that the endowed fund will enable the center to reach out to many more young gifted students. Our future is bright and exciting."

Income from the Myron and Jacqueline N. Blank Endowment Fund for Technology will be used to:

-- develop courses to be presented via computers, Internet, satellite, Iowa Communications Network (ICN), and other technologies

-- present programs to students and teachers in rural areas and other communities

-- develop courses and electronic publications that can be put on CD-ROM and exported statewide, nationally, and internationally

-- use satellite and ICN hook-ups to make available nationwide major conferences taking place at the Belin-Blank Center

-- provide technology and equipment for staff presentations about the center's research and service programs.

The Belin-Blank Center 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 sharing its staff expertise with other countries in furthering gifted education.

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