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University of Iowa News Release

April 15, 2003

Time Capsule To Immortalize Elementary School Students

Fourth and fifth graders from 34 cities and towns across Iowa will earn a little bit of immortality via a time capsule at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

The students, with assistance from their teachers, have written class letters to their counterparts in the year 2103. The letters, along with information about each school and the names of the students and their teacher, will be sealed in a time capsule which will be placed in the medical school's new Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility. The time capsule project is part of the building's dedication, slated for May 9. The capsule will be opened in 100 years.

In their letters, the students talk about their schools, their towns, their families, and what they do for fun -- a child's eye view of the world of 2003. The letters also include predictions about what the students think life will be like a century from now. The most frequent predictions include personal flying devices and robots who will do unpleasant work such as cleaning children's rooms and making their beds.

The letters will be on display at the Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility on the UI campus during the dedication ceremonies. In addition to the letters from the students, the time capsule will include a wide array of materials that will provide people in 2103 with a sense of what life in Iowa was like 100 years earlier. As with the letters, the items will be on display at the dedication.

The children's letters project was the brainchild of the late Richard P. Nelson, M.D., former executive dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. Nelson, a pediatrician and advocate for child health issues in the state, was overseeing the construction of the building at the time of his death in December 2001. During the planning of the building, he indicated his strong desire to establish a connection between children and the medical school.

The Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility contains classrooms designed specifically for modern medical education and state-of-the-art research laboratories. The exterior is constructed of Anamosa limestone quarried near Stone City, where famous Iowa artist and former UI faculty member Grant Wood lived and worked.

NOTE: To read the letters, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5141 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Steve Maravetz, 319-335-8033,