CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 18, 1999
Belin family gives $500,000 for Belin-Blank building,
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The children of the late David
and Connie Belin of Des Moines have donated $500,000 to the University of
Iowa Foundation in support of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted
Education and Talent Development, UI President Mary Sue Coleman announced
The donors are Thomas Belin of Santa Monica, Calif.,
James Belin of Phoenix, Ariz., Jonathan Belin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Joy
Belin-Kramer of Chevy Chase, Md., and Laura Belin of London, England. Some
60 percent of the gift -- $300,000 -- will go toward construction of the new
building, which will house the Belin-Blank Center and the UI Honors Program.
The remaining $200,000 will endow future Belin-Blank Center programs.
The building will be constructed along the T. Anne
Cleary Walkway east of the Chemistry Building. In addition to the Blank donation,
the recently formed Belin-Blank Advisory Board -- chaired by Mark McCormick
of Des Moines -- has pledged to help raise at least $3 million in private
donations. The Belin-Blank Center, part of the UI College of Education, is
currently housed in the Lindquist Center. The Honors Program is housed in
Coleman and UI Foundation President Michael New will
propose that the new building be named after the Blanks.
The Belin family gift follows closely a $5 million
donation from Myron and Jacqueline
Blank of Des Moines. The Blank donation will be similarly
divided, with $3 million going to the new building and $2 million funding
future Belin-Blank Center programs.
"David and Connie Belin were enthusiastic supporters
of the University of Iowa's work with gifted and talented young people," Coleman
said. "This donation by their children not only honors their parents' memories
but helps ensure that the Belin-Blank Center will continue to grow and serve
exceptional students and their teachers in Iowa and across the country."
The two gifts were announced during a special reception
this afternoon at the W.A. Krause Center in Des Moines. The event was to be
attended by the Blanks, Coleman, New, UI College of Education Dean Sandra
Damico, Belin-Blank Director Nicholas Colangelo, Belin-Blank Associate Director
Susan Assouline and Owen Newlin, president of the Board of Regents, State
"We're tremendously grateful for this gift," Colangelo
said. "It means more academically gifted students and teachers will get the
kind of specialized support they need to excel. It also maintains the Belin
family name as a leader in support of gifted education."
David Belin headed the Des Moines law firm of Belin,
Larson, McCormick, Zumbach, Flynn and was named by the National Law Journal
as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America. He served as Counsel
to the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy and
later wrote two books and numerous articles about the assassination.
David Belin cared deeply about gifted education and
said, "If this nation is going to survive as a leader, we must nurture our
most gifted and talented students." Connie Belin was a teacher and served
on the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The Belins worked with Myron and Jacqueline
Blank to draft the initial plans for a comprehensive center focusing on the
education of gifted students.
Following Connie's death in 1980, David Belin, the
Blanks and Colangelo founded the center at the University of Iowa College
of Education and named it in Connie Belin's honor. In 1995 the center was
renamed the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for
Gifted Education and Talent Development. David Belin died in January of this