About the Belin-Blank Center

The mission of the Belin-Blank Center is to empower and serve the international gifted community through exemplary leadership in programs, research, and advocacy.

The Belin-Blank Center:

  • Identifies gifted, talented, and artistic learners;
  • Offers specialized educational opportunities for students;
  • Increases awareness and use of acceleration to enhance learning;
  • Provides assessment, counseling, and consultation services;
  • Develops curriculum resources and materials;
  • Facilitates the professional development of educators;
  • Disseminates information through conferences and publications;
  • Enhances educational opportunities through technology;
  • Collaborates with the worldwide gifted community;
  • Promotes access, diversity, and equity in developing talent in accordance with the University of Iowa's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.

Meet the Staff

News

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Scanlan Family Foundation supports mental health in Iowa schools

Thanks to a generous $15 million gift from the Scanlan Family Foundation, the Iowa Center for School Mental Health, in collaboration with the Belin-Blank Center, will expand clinical support for school mental health.

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Each named student poet ambassador

Prairie High School junior Johnnie Each is representing Iowa as its second-ever student poetry ambassador. Each, 16, was officially named Iowa’s 2022 student poet ambassador during a Friday ceremony in the Iowa Capitol rotunda in Des Moines.

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Bucksbaum Academy student, 18, graduates from the UI

At age 16, Kyle Lastine wanted to accelerate his postsecondary education. Lastine is set to graduate from the University of Iowa in May at 18 years old. He completed his undergraduate degree in three years and is one-third of the way done with his master’s degree.

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Belin-Blank Center publishes on impacts of STEM program

The Belin-Blank Center's Lori M. Ihrig, Duhita Mahatmya, and Susan G. Assouline teamed up with Joni M. Lakin and Tamra Stambaugh to publish an article on the impacts of the STEM Excellence and Leadership Program on the lives of rural students.

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Dr. Doobay discusses impacts of returning to school

Concerned about your children returning to school this fall? The Belin-Blank Center's Dr. Alissa Doobay, and other experts, weigh in on what children are facing and how to best support them.

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Advisory Board

Board Members

Susan Assouline Iowa City, IA
Pat Ballou Urbandale, IA
Laurie Belin Des Moines, IA
Bennett Brown ,
Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan Woody Creek, CO
Julius C. Carter Chicago, IL
Nicholas Colangelo Iowa City, IA
Bob Downer Iowa City, IA
Tracy Drew Plymouth, MA
Dick Ferguson Iowa City, IA
Ann Hoffman Cedar Rapids, IA
James E. Hoffman Cedar Rapids, IA
Alyssa Levitz Seattle, WA
Randi Levitz Iowa City, IA
Heidi Molbak New Orleans, LA
Jeffrey Perry Washington, DC, MD
William Perry White Plains, NY
Barbara Ross Belin New York City, NY
Theodore (Bob) Scarborough Wheaton , IL
Sarvjeev Sidhu Cedar Rapids, IA
Shabana Sidhu Iowa City, IA
Ann Smith Burlingame, CA
Don Swartz Mission Hills, KS
Paul Thompson Denver, CO
Bret Ulery Columbia, MO
Alex Vacca Annandale, VA
Gregory Walker Chicago, IL

Chair

Thomas Belin Los Angeles, CA

Emeritus/Emerita

Gregs Thomopulos Iowa City, IA

Ex-Officio Members

Daniel Clay Iowa City, IA
Megan Foley-Nicpon Iowa City, IA
Sarah Hansen ,
Kevin Kregel Iowa City, IA
Lynette Marshall Iowa City, IA
Linda Snetselaar Iowa City, IA
Tanya Uden-Holman Iowa City, IA
Shaun Vecera ,
Barbara Wilson Iowa City, IA

Founders (In Memoriam)

David Belin West Des Moines, IA
Connie Belin West Des Moines, IA
Myron Blank Des Moines, IA
Jacqueline Blank Des Moines, IA

In Memoriam

Joanne Brown West Des Moines, IA
Joy Corning Des Moines, IA
Michael New Iowa City, IA
Carmen Sosa Ankeny, IA
Jocelyn Wallace Poughkeepsie, NY
H.B. Wallace (Honorary) Scottsdale, AZ
Ted Wheat Des Moines, IA
Darrell Wyrick Iowa City, IA
Ann York Iowa City, IA

Our Story

John F. Kennedy

All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.
John F. Kennedy

The Belin-Blank Center owes its existence to the vision and philanthropy of our founders, David and Connie Belin and Myron and Jaqueline Blank. The Belins and Blanks believed talented and gifted students were not adequately served in school, and they hoped to support efforts to improve the situation. The two families made significant financial commitments while joining forces to secure state funding for the creation of a comprehensive center.

Founded in 1988, the Belin-Blank Center quickly developed into an internationally-respected powerhouse providing innovative programming for gifted and talented students in addition to our groundbreaking work with teachers. As we grew, the Center added counseling services and programming for twice-exceptional children--those who are both gifted and have a diagnosed disorder that impacts their learning or social-emotional development. We also moved into our award-winning building, the Blank Honors Center, built through private donations.

Jacqueline Blank

We tossed a small pebble, and it made a big splash.
Jacqueline Blank

The Perry family of New York are longtime supporters of the Belin-Blank Center. For the Perry family, the Belin-Blank Center has been a source of pride for four generations. Beverly Perry’s parents were Mike and Jackie Blank, who, along with David and Connie Belin, provided the foundational support that launched the Belin-Blank Center. The Perrys, including Beverly, her children Jeff and Shoshana, and Jeff's son William, have been long-time donors to the Center. Among other things, their generous donations have enabled us to establish and make scholarships available to students for the Perry Research Scholars Institute

Henry B. and Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Arizona, have also been outstanding advocates for gifted students and longtime supporters of the Belin-Blank Center. The Assessment and Counseling Clinic was made possible by a generous gift from Henry B. and Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Arizona. This Clinic testifies to their generosity and vision that gifted children and their families would have opportunities to receive counseling services. Their generous donation has enabled us to make grants available to students in our summer programs that cover up to one-half of the program cost.

Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan is a longtime friend of the Belin-Blank Center, and many of her generous gifts have supported the arts. Specifically, she has supported specialized programming for students as well as the acquisition of works of art for the Center’s public collection. The daughter of a well-known art collector, the late Melva Bucksbaum, as well as an artist herself, Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan is committed to supporting the ongoing emphasis on the arts in the Center’s student programs. A generous gift from Mary Bucksbaum Scanlan and Patrick Scanlan, honoring Mary’s parents, Martin and Melva Bucksbaum, established the Bucksbaum Early Entrance STEAM Academy. The Bucksbaum Academy puts the ideas the Center champions into motion via early admission to the University of Iowa for bright high school sophomores and juniors. This program seeks talented and gifted students in the arts in addition to those who excel in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). As a result, the Academy is a STEAM program, with the A representing the arts.

Philanthropy has been one of the wonderfully unique successes of the Belin-Blank Center. The tremendous generosity of those who believe in providing opportunities for gifted students and their teachers has marked our founding and history. Underlying the stewardship of our founding families’ vision and the generosity of all of our donors is the belief that gifted students hold enormous potential to solve intractable problems, discover the unimaginable, and create beauty when their talents are appropriately recognized and fully nurtured.

To contribute to the Belin-Blank Center online please visit the University of Iowa Foundation.