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Release: May 9, 2002

EDITORS: If you are interested in interviewing any of the students or teachers who will be honored during this ceremony please contact Jan Warren with the Belin-Blank Center at (319) 335-6148 to make arrangements prior to or after the ceremony.

Belin-Blank Center honors outstanding students, teachers May 11

University of Iowa Professor Mary Hendrix, Ph.D., and UI student Eileen Lee will talk about the importance of gifted and talented education when they address more than 900 outstanding K-12 students and teachers Saturday, May 11 at Hancher Auditorium.

The students, along with the teachers who inspired them, will be honored for their achievements during the recognition ceremony of the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development of the UI College of Education.

The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. More than 2,200 people, including family, teachers and friends, are expected to attend.

Begun in 1993, the awards ceremony is a unique opportunity to honor the academic and creative abilities of elementary, junior high and high school students in Iowa and across the country. Each student is asked to nominate and invite to the ceremony a teacher who has inspired the student to excel in education.

"The ceremony is our effort to let the students know that the development of their talents and their commitment to education will be rewarded," said Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center. "It's also a chance to let teachers know that their dedication is not only vital to the education of students but also has a major impact in the lives of students."

Hendrix, the Kate Daum Research Professor and head of the UI Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Lee, a UI student from West Des Moines and the first graduate of the Belin-Blank Center's National Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, will deliver keynote addresses.

Other speakers include David Skorton, UI vice president for research and external relations; Sandra Damico, dean of the College of Education; and Mark McCormick, chair of the Belin-Blank Center National Advisory Board.

Established in 1988, the Belin-Blank Center specializes in programming and research to meet the educational needs of exceptionally talented children and their teachers. The center conducts an extensive roster of talent searches, precollege and university programs, professional development workshops, international conferences, research and counseling programs.

The ceremony is sponsored in part by an endowment established by Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Ariz. and support from the Belin-Blank Center.

Founded in 1872, the University of Iowa College of Education was the nation's first permanent college-level department of education. Since then the College has gained an international reputation of excellence in fields as diverse as rehabilitation counseling, testing and measurement, and language and literacy. It is home to the Iowa Testing Programs, developer of the widely used Iowa Tests of Basic Skills; to the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development; and to such top-ranked programs as Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education, and English Education and Literacy.