Guest Opinion: Opportunity to say thank you


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I came across the iconic phrase “It is better to give than to receive” sometime prior to my teen years. It was a catchy phrase so it stayed with me — though I did not fully understand or appreciate its deeper meaning until much later.

Thirty-eight years ago, Iowa gave me my first faculty position, right out of a doctoral program. Iowa has been my sole faculty home, and when I retire, it will be from Iowa. As the years have passed, the University of Iowa has been a wonderful place for me to develop a deeper understanding of why it is better to give than to receive.

The power of philanthropy, fueled by attachment and loyalty to Iowa, has inspired me since I arrived here. For 25 years, I directed the UI Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank Center for Gifted Education. The center, as well as the beautiful Blank Honors Building that houses it on the East Campus, was largely built on the generosity of individual donors — and they gave from their hearts. These donors cared deeply about gifted students and had confidence that the University of Iowa could translate their caring into tangible and inspiring programs. Their gifts established the Belin-Blank Center from scratch, and since then, it has grown into an internationally respected institution serving students, teachers, and parents.

Now I am the dean of the College of Education, and I continue to work closely with donors. Their generous gifts make it possible for so many of our students to have scholarships and assistantships; for so many of our faculty to have support for their teaching, research, and extensive outreach; for endowed chairs that bring some of the nation’s best faculty to claim the UI College of Education as their academic home.

For many years, my wife, Kay, and I have contributed to the Belin-Blank Center and to the College of Education. This is our home and we want to help keep it strong. Both Kay and I are first-generation college students, and we know profoundly the importance of higher education. We hope our giving will help keep doors open for other students and their families.

To give is an opportunity to say thank you.

Nick Colangelo
UI College of Education

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