CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Des Moines couple gives $500,000 to UI gifted education program
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A $500,000 gift from a Des Moines couple with long-standing
ties to the gifted education program at the University of Iowa will expand
by 50 percent the number of outstanding junior high school students who
take part in a college-level summer program at the UI.
The gift from Myron and Jacqueline Blank to the UI Foundation will provide
scholarships to an additional 40 students each year in the Iowa Summer
Institute for the Arts and Sciences (ISI), increasing the number of "Blank
Scholars" from 80 students to 120 students each year.
The Iowa Summer Institute, conducted by the Connie Belin and Jacqueline
N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development
of the UI College of Education, features five, intensive core courses in
science, mathematics, writing, the arts, and invention designed to expose
seventh- and eighth-graders to the type of coursework undertaken by college
All students who complete the program will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship
to the UI if they enroll in the UI when they are eligible as first-year
The 1998 ISI was held June 14-26.
Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center, said the Blanks'
name has become synonymous with gifted education in Iowa.
"Myron and Jacqueline Blank have been tremendously generous and
visionary in their support of gifted students in Iowa," Colangelo
said. "The Blank Scholars program not only helps identify academic
and artistic talent at the critical early teen years, but provides encouragement
and incentive to continue to develop that talent. The promise of a scholarship
to the University of Iowa is a recognition of the achievement of these
students and an investment in their future."
Myron Blank, president of Central States Theatre Corp., and Jacqueline
Blank have supported gifted education at the UI since 1980 when the current
program was established. In 1988 they contributed $1 million to the UI
Foundation to create the Myron and Jacqueline Blank Chair of Gifted Education,
a professorship now held by Colangelo. In 1994 they contributed $725,000
to create the Myron and Jacqueline Blank Scholarships for Gifted Students
In recognition of their contributions, the center was renamed in 1996
as the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted
Education and Talent Development.
"We're very proud of the center and what these outstanding students
have accomplished as a result of its programs," said Jacqueline Blank.
"It's been a great satisfaction to watch the students and to share
their enthusiasm for learning and for education."
Mary Sue Coleman, UI president, said, "The Blanks' continuing support
for gifted education at the University of Iowa is a vivid example of the
positive impact Iowans can have on education and on their university. The
Blank Scholars will make an enormous difference in the intellectual life
of the University of Iowa and will make a great difference in the world
at-large in the very near future."
ISI is open to all Iowa junior high and middle school students in public
schools and approved private schools.
Schools may nominate only one student to attend ISI in each of the five
academic areas. A committee of UI faculty and Iowa educators selects students
for the program.
Established in 1988, the Belin-Blank Center specializes in programming
and research to meet the educational needs of exceptionally talented children
and their teachers. The Center conducts an extensive roster of talent searches,
precollege programs, teacher training workshops, conferences, symposia,
and counseling programs.
More than 700 students annually participate in the Belin-Blank Center's
summer programs. More than 10,000 elementary, junior high and high school
teachers have participated in center programs since 1988.
For more information, contact the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank
International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the
UI College of Education, (319) 335-6148.
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 resources for professorships,
scholarships, building renovations, equipment, technology, and other forms
of support for the UI.