Belin-Blank Center celebrates 25 years with open house July 10

Belin-Blank Center celebrates 25 years with open house July 10

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Belin-Blank Center silver anniversary logo

The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development in the University of Iowa College of Education is celebrating 25 years of providing leadership, advocacy, and support for talented and gifted children, their teachers, and families.

Festivities include an open house Wednesday, July 10, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the lobby at the Blank Honors Center on the UI Campus. The event will include light refreshments, building tours between 3:10 and 3:40 p.m., and brief comments from center leaders at 3:45 p.m. The open house is free and open to the public.

The center, which serves several thousand academically gifted and talented students and their teachers each year, provides direct services and support to students in every county in Iowa and to individuals from several countries.

It all started in 1980, when founder Nicholas Colangelo, now interim dean of the College of Education, pursued a partnership with Mike and Jackie Blank and David Belin to train 17 Iowa teachers in gifted education.

“In 1980, this was pretty radical since there was no training for teachers in this area,” Colangelo says. “I made handouts for the teachers and these handouts fit nicely into a Xerox box. This box served as the first Belin-Blank Center.”

In 1988, Colangelo’s Belin-Blank partnership went from an informal program to an official center recognized by the Iowa Board of Regents.

“The story of the Belin-Blank Center has been a story of vision,” says Colangelo. “We have always seen what was not quite there yet, but could be for students, teachers, and parents.”

Susan Assouline, a professor of School Psychology in the College of Education who was associate director of the center starting in 1990, took over as Belin-Blank Center director in December. She says the center’s future looks bright.

“We have both the freedom and flexibility to try innovative approaches to all that we do thanks to the Blank and Belin families who provided a firm foundation upon which we have built a solid present and a promising future,” she says.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration, the Belin-Blank Center is collecting comments, stories, poems, photos, and memories from the people around the world who have been part of the Belin-Blank Center family. To share yours and to learn more about anniversary events, visit

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the open house, contact the Belin-Blank Center in advance at 319-335-6148.


Susan Assouline, College of Education--Belin Blank Center, 319-335-6130


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