This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. That long name packs an abundance of information about who we are and what we do.
Named for two of the four co-founders of the Belin-Blank Center, the name pays tribute to the founding families and honors their philanthropic contributions to the center. The name also references our international connections and the fact that we address both gifted education and talent development, which are complementary concepts.
Over the years, the Belin-Blank Center has been committed to providing programming and services to educators, students, and their families. Our aim is to empower the worldwide gifted community through exemplary leadership in service, research, and advocacy. Through our work, supported through the generosity of our benefactors, funds from private foundations, and federal and state grants, we aim to eliminate barriers that impede the full development of students and educators.
The Belin-Blank Center is part of the University of Iowa’s College of Education. For the first fifteen years of our existence, the Lindquist Center housed our center. Early in 2004, we moved from the Lindquist Center to the newly built, six-story Blank Honors Center. This move was essential because over the decades, our staff and faculty have grown; that growth matches the growth in our programs.
Through all of this change, our values have never wavered; in particular, our strong belief in the benefit of recognizing and validating talent. Ceremonies such as our annual Recognition Ceremony increase awareness of the needs of gifted and talented students and teachers; simultaneously, they acknowledge for the students, teachers, and their families that their efforts matter. We have noticed, and we know that they will make a difference.
An anniversary is an opportunity for reflection and celebration as well as for dreaming about the future. Thanks to our benefactors, our faculty and staff, and the University of Iowa, this year we celebrate a decades-long reality created from a single vision. We step into the future empowered to create a better world for the gifted and talented community. Paraphrasing an observation and a question attributed to Sidney Parnes, an early leader in the field of creativity, “We are already living in someone else’s dream of the future; why not make it your dream?”