April 1, 2019
2019 Roosevelt Hall of Fame Recipients To Be Honored
Des Moines, IA: The Roosevelt Foundation and Alumni Association is proud to announce this year’s inductees into the Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame: Dr. John L. Gustafson, Rev. Julie Johnson Sparks, J.D., and Feng Zhang, Ph.D.
These three alumni of Roosevelt High School will be inducted into the Roosevelt Hall of Fame on April 12, 2019 at 11:20 a.m. at a ceremony in the Roosevelt Auditorium at 4419 Center Street in Des Moines. The annual award began in 1986 to recognize and honor outstanding alumni of Roosevelt High School.
Learn More About Dr. John L. Gustafson, Class of 1973
Every time you use your smartphone, play a video game, or do a web search, you are using technology developed by TRHS graduate John Gustafson, class of ’73. Modern computers use “parallel processing” to achieve the very high speeds we now take for granted.
John grew up in Des Moines, attending Hanawalt Elementary, Merrill Junior High, and Roosevelt. Winning the Drake Physics Prize helped him get accepted at MIT and Caltech. He chose Caltech, graduating with honors in Applied Math. He worked at NASA before returning to his native Iowa to finish a Masters and Ph.D. at Iowa State, while consulting for NASA to debug the Voyager probe software.
In 1982, he entered the computer industry, where he showed a knack for finding innovative ways to design and use supercomputers at FPS and NCUBE. Back then, the industry viewed parallel computing as an approach that could never work, because of an argument called “Amdahl’s law.” When Sandia National Labs bought an experimental system from NCUBE with 1,024 processors, skeptics said it would never be more than about eight times as fast as a single processor. John joined Sandia to prove otherwise, and introduced a breakthrough now called “Gustafson’s law” that is taught in computer science departments everywhere. He and his team demonstrated speedups of over a thousand times on real applications, a success that stunned the industry and led the major computer makers to change their designs to use parallel computing. For that he was given the first Gordon Bell Award, sometimes called “the Nobel Prize of supercomputing.”
John returned to Iowa State to found the Scalable Computing Laboratory where he continued to win awards for innovations. In 2000, he moved to Silicon Valley at the height of the dot-com boom, as a program leader at Sun Microsystems, and later Director at Intel Labs and Chief Product Officer of AMD. He holds 23 patents with 244 claims. He decided to attempt another computer revolution, this time regarding how computers do arithmetic, and in 2015 published his first book, The End of Error: Unum Computing. The book showed how rounding errors can be eliminated while saving energy, became a best-seller in its category, and earned him a professorship at National University of Singapore, where he continues to revolutionize the way we design and use computers.
Learn More About Rev. Julie Johnson Staples, J.D., Class of 1974
Reverend Julie Johnson Staples is a Collegiate Senior Minister serving as Executive Director of Intersections International, a ten-year-strong organization that serves as a catalyst to unite disparate groups to forge a common ground in social justice and global peacemaking. Throughout her career as a journalist, Wall Street executive, and minister, social justice has been her passion and a unifying thread in her work and philanthropy.
Prior to Intersections, Rev. Johnson Staples most recently served as interim senior minister of the historic Flatbush-Tompkins Congregational Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. Previously, she was interim minister of education at The Riverside Church in the City of New York. Rev. Johnson Staples also served as Moderator of the New York-New Jersey Regional Association of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC). She is a member of the NACCC national ambassador team, acting as a regional advisor to ministerial search committees and a resource representative for member churches in the NACCC; and Rev. Johnson Staples serves on the national board of directors of the NACCC.
In 2012, Rev. Johnson Staples completed a Th.M. degree in Religion, Literature and Culture at Harvard University. Her research focused on inter-racial and multicultural liturgical experiences in American religious history. Rev. Johnson Staples received her M.Div. degree with honors and distinction in Biblical Studies/Hebrew Bible from the Union Theological Seminary in 2011. She was ordained as a Congregational minister at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn and holds ecclesiastical standing in the Reformed Association of the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York (ABCUSA).
Prior to ordained ministry, her professional career included work as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and as an executive in finance on Wall Street. Before leaving to enter seminary, Rev. Johnson Staples was a managing director and partner at Warburg Pincus, the global private equity firm based in New York. Earlier in her career, she was the Justice Department correspondent for ABC News and the Supreme Court correspondent for Time magazine. In addition to reporting on law and politics, she has twice worked as a White House correspondent, for The New York Times and for the Baltimore Sun.
Rev. Johnson Staples received her B.S. degree in journalism from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Public Information at the University of Kansas, and her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Learn More About Feng Zhang, Ph.D., Class of 2000
Dr. Zhang is a molecular biologist focused on developing tools to improve human health. He played an integral role in the development of two revolutionary technologies,
optogenetics and CRISPR-Cas genome editing, including pioneering the use of Cas9 for genome editing as well as discovering new CRISPR systems such as Cas12 and Cas13 and developing them for therapeutic and diagnostics applications. Current research in the Zhang laboratory is centered on the discovery of novel biological systems and processes, discovering their mechanisms and developing them into high impactful molecular tools and therapies to study and treat human disease. Dr. Zhang’s work on developing CRISPR-Cas systems has been recognized by numerous awards including the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Tang Prize, and the Albany Medical Prize. Dr. Zhang is a core member of the Broad Institute, an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, the James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. He is also a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 1986, the Roosevelt Foundation began the Hall of Fame to recognize and honor outstanding alumni of Roosevelt High School. Since that time, more than 50 graduates have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Plaques commemorating their achievements hang in the hallways of the school.
Currently, the Foundation inducts up to 3 Roosevelt alumni into the Hall of Fame each spring, and it is a very fun event! An all school assembly is held to honor the inductees and offer them a chance to share their wisdom with the student body. They also spend the afternoon visiting classrooms and interacting with the students. In the evening they have a chance to celebrate with family, friends, and other Roosevelt folks.
Anyone may nominate a Roosevelt graduate for the Hall of Fame, as long as the nominee meets the following criteria: must have graduated from Roosevelt 10 years prior to receiving the award; must be outstanding in their field of work; must be of good character; and must be available to participate in a full day’s activities. Nominations are accepted year round, selection process begins in January, with induction taking place in April. Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting The Roosevelt Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. So think back on your high school days and colleagues, and see if you can’t think of someone deserving of this very special award. Thank you.
The Roosevelt Hall of Fame Committee
If you would like to nominate a Roosevelt graduate for the Hall of Fame, please download and print the Hall of Fame Nomination Form, complete the form and mail it to: Hall of Fame Chair, Roosevelt Foundation, P.O. Box 12087, Des Moines, IA 50312.
Hall of Fame Listing
ROBERT D. RAY
DR. MARGARET ALLEN
DR. COURTNEY SMITH
DR. RAYMOND H. PUGH
LOUISE R. NOUN
REVEREND GEORGE WEBBER
MARJORIE S. SPEVAK
DR. KEITH R. YAMAMOTO
OSHA GRAY DAVIDSON
DR. H. CLARK HOFFMAN
DONALD L. ARENDS
MARGUERITE E. COTHORN
JANICE LUTJEN KREAMER
PATRICIA SCOTT SCHROEDER
DR. LARRY DORR
ANNE HOWLAND EHRLICH
DR. CECIL B. DRAIN
WILLIAM E. SANDINE
LAWRENCE O. ELY, JR.
KATHY LEE COLLINS REILLY
KATHLEEN BROGAN SCHWARZ
JANET PHILLIPS SHARMA
JULIE JOHNSON STAPLES