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Release: May 21, 1999

Wallace family donates $200,000 for gifted education in rural schools

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A $200,000 donation to the University of Iowa by relatives of a former U.S. vice president will support a new initiative for gifted education in rural schools across the country.

The gift to the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development was made by H.B. and Jocelyn Wallace, Henry D. Wallace and Linda Wallace-Gray, all of Arizona, and will be used to create an endowment. H.B. Wallace’s father, Iowan Henry A. Wallace, was U.S. secretary of agriculture from 1933 to 1941 before serving as vice president during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term.

The gift was announced Friday, May 21 during the first of a two-day conference on gifted education in rural schools sponsored by the Belin-Blank Center and the Institute of School Executives. The conference is bringing together leading researchers and advocates to discuss the challenges and successes of gifted education in small and rural school districts throughout the nation. It also is serving as the setting for the formal launch of an initiative by the Belin-Blank Center to establish a national program to help rural schools develop and strengthen gifted education programs.

"Gifted Education in Rural Schools: A National Assessment," a report produced by the Belin-Blank Center and unveiled at the conference, found that academically gifted students in rural schools are at a high risk of slipping through the cracks because of inadequate resources, geographic isolation and the public’s preoccupation with the plight of urban education.

Copies of the report are available by calling (319) 384-0007.