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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

March 6, 2003

Grants to Assist University of Iowa Gifted Education Efforts

A $275,000 grant from the Nevada-based Davidson Foundation will be used to help support the early college entrance program at the University of Iowa Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

In addition, another grant of $10,000 from the Lumina Foundation for Education will enable the Belin-Blank Center to explore opportunities for collaboration on gifted programs among Big Ten schools of education.

Belin-Blank Center Director Nicholas Colangelo, Ph.D., says the Davidson Foundation grant will be used to support the center's National Academy of Arts, Sciences and Engineering (NAASE) by providing student scholarships, allowing expanded student recruitment and creating a graduate assistantship. Founded in 1997 by Bob and Jan Davidson of Incline Village, Nev., and their children, the Davidson Foundation focuses its support on non-profit organizations that emphasize the developmental and educational needs of highly intelligent young people.

NAASE, created in 1999 and the first program of its kind at a major research institution, gives select students who have completed course work equivalent to their junior year of high school the opportunity to begin university research and course work. Academy students are accepted automatically as freshmen into the UI Honors Program and live together on the Honors Residence Hall floors.

The Lumina Foundation, based in Indiana, is a private, independent foundation that strives to help people achieve their potential by expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. Through research, grants for innovative programs and communication initiatives, the Lumina Foundation addresses issues surrounding access and educational retention and degree or certificate attainment--particularly among underserved student groups, including adult learners.

Colangelo described the $10,000 Lumina grant as "seed money" for faculty, researchers and staff in the Big Ten schools of education and gifted education programs--including the Belin-Blank Center--to find ways to further efforts at identifying and educating academically gifted students and their teachers, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The Davidson and Lumina gifts are part of the UI's $850 million comprehensive campaign. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the campaign will run through 2005 and is being conducted by the UI Foundation. The campaign is raising private funds to help launch educational initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit the UI Foundation's web site at For more information about the Belin-Blank Center, visit

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa Foundation, Levitt Center for University Advancement, One West Park Road, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

CONTACT(S): Andrew Sheehy, director of development, UI College of Education, (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973, Writer: Peter Ylvisaker.