P.O. Box 12087
Des Moines, IA 50312

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© 2020  Theodore Roosevelt High School Foundation. Des Moines, Iowa.  Created by Admiria.

Nominate a Great Alum!


The Roosevelt Foundation and Alumni Association is seeking nominations of prestigious TRHS Alums for membership in our Hall of Fame. Being famous is not a requirement. Doing something fabulous worth recognizing is!


Join the ranks of Charles Betts, Justin Roberts, Cloris Leachman, Robert D. Ray, Mary Brubaker, and Natasha Kaiser-Brown to name just a few. Nominations are due by January 31, 2020.


  1. To honor outstanding alumni.

  2. To provide role models in various fields of endeavors for the student body.

  3. To allow for the student body to meet and hear outstanding alumni who will provide inspiration and pride in Roosevelt High School.


  1. Must have graduated from Roosevelt at least 10 years prior to receiving the award. Not available to those who attended but did not graduate.

  2. Must be outstanding in their chosen field of work or community service, and must have received some type of recognition.

  3. Must be of good character and serve as a role model for the student body.

  4. Must be available to participate in a full day’s activities at the school and an evening reception with alumni.



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.


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.