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2017 Recipients


David Brynteson

Air Force Col. David Brynteson is a decorated command pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours, most of them in the F-15E Strike Eagle fighter plane. He spends much of his time operating in undisclosed and dangerous locations. 

“He is literally the first person in his unit to go into harm’s way. He leads from the front,” says Brigadier Gen. Ronald D. Buckley, noting that Col. Brynteson has flown combat sorties in every major conflict in the Middle East during his career.

Col. Brynteson has been promoted six times and has earned, among numerous honors, the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and many unit awards.

While at South, the 1990 graduate was a straight-A student who excelled in the classroom and the athletic arena. He led the Bruins to state championships in football, basketball and track. He was team captain in all three sports. Former Fargo South teacher and Coach Dale Hertel says Col. Brynteson was a model student and “a glowing star of an amazing population of Fargo South students and athletes.”

He went on to play football for the Air Force Academy, participating in three straight Liberty Bowls and earning Academic All-America honors. In addition to receiving his bachelor’s degree, Col. Brynteson earned three Master of Science degrees, in aerospace technology and in national security and strategic studies.

“His dedication to integrity, service and excellence is second to none,” says Col. Christopher S. Sage.

“He often speaks of his hometown and Fargo with pride,” Gen. Buckley says. “He credits much of his military success to the knowledge and leadership he developed growing up in North Dakota. I know David has been a high-impact mentor to hundreds of military members over the years.”


Susan Gigstad

The consummate educator. A master professional. A teacher's teacher. Those are just a few of the descriptions from colleagues of retired Fargo South English teacher Susan Gigstad.

Retired Fargo North English teacher Marianna Malm says Susan always gave of her personal time and talent. She spent weekends at school, usually to promote writing with her school-wide "Word of the Week" program involving teachers from special education to tech education.

Susan and Marianne were the first literacy coaches in the district and helped to develop classes at North Dakota State University.

Steve Hanson, a 1998 South graduate and one of Susan's former students, says Susan knew he was interested in creative writing and encouraged that aspect even though much of the class focused on English literature. For his vocabulary lessons he wound up writing a year-long, continuous story about a road trip across America where each new adventure featured the new words.

"Not only did that make the assignment extremely fun to complete, but it also helped me on the ACTs/SATs since I had a much better grasp of vocabulary after my year with Mrs. Gigstad," Steve says.

Deb Dillon, former Fargo South Dean of Students and Independent Learning Center teacher, says Susan possesses the unique ability to honestly challenge students while providing the support they needed to be successful. 

"I saw other teachers in whose classes many students received failing grades, most for lack of effort," she says. "That virtually never happened in Susan's classes. She inspired students, pushed students, and made them believe they could succeed."

Says former South High Principal Richard Warner, “Susan was demanding yet not overbearing. The students were active participants in her classes since she used any of a number of tools to pique their interest and achieve success. Susan was the consummate professional educator.”


Lance Josal

Lance Josal is a recognized front-runner in the architectural profession, described by colleagues as a selfless contributor to the industry and a visionary leader.

Lance is the president and CEO of Dallas-based Callison RTKL Inc., one of the most influential architecture practices in the world. A strong and talented executive, Lance played an integral role in reshaping RTKL’s practice model and guiding its expansion into new and emerging markets. The firm has more than 2,000 design professionals with 15 offices around the world.

While under his leadership, RTKL remained profitable, healthy and expansionist, especially in such markets as Asia and the Middle East, where the company has received recognition for its large-sale urban design and multi-use developments. He is a highly sought-after speaker, and his work has been recognized by numerous regional and local architecture chapters.

“Two things come to mind immediately that make Lance particularly worthy of this honor: his love and deep admiration for his roots, and his passion and commitment to mentoring successive generations of architects and business leaders,” says Thom McKay, RTKL senior vice president.

The 1973 graduate was a standout student and involved in numerous activities, including track, stage band, concert band, orchestra productions, and drafting and industrial arts. He designed and drafted a two-person fiberglass paddleboat during after-school hours.

Lance holds bachelor’s degrees in both art and architecture from North Dakota State University.

“Over the years he has proven himself to be a great architect, leader and manager,” says longtime cohort James Langford. “Lance has received many honors in our profession of architecture, including Fellow of the American Institute of Architects - our profession’s highest honor.”

H. Ralph Hawkins, Chairman Emeritus of HKS Architects, calls Lance “a selfless contributor to our profession and community in many ways. He is proudly from North Dakota.”


Paul Lundstrom

Dr. Paul Lundstrom has built a successful dermatology practice that covers a wide swath of northwestern Minnesota that has been typically underserved when it comes to medical services.

A 1986 graduate of South, where he was a standout athlete, student and homecoming king, Dr. Lundstrom has more than 20 years of dermatology experience. In the last decade he started his own practice in Baxter, Minnesota. The business started with five employees. Today the clinic has five providers and 40 staff members.

In 2012, the clinic was honored with the Integrity Health Network Quality Award for Outstanding Specialty Clinic.

"Paul has made it a point to travel long distances to see such patients, when necessary, and utilizes cutting-edge video technology to ensure that patients in northern Minnesota who cannot travel still have access to specialized medical care," says Nichols Kaster, a longtime friend and colleague. "Paul is also excellent with patients, of which I am one. He has a rare combination of skills: a compelling intellect as well as a caring bedside manner."

Dr. Lundstrom was a board-certified dermatologist at MeritCare Clinic in Fargo from 1999 to 2002, and at the Brainerd Medical Center from 2003 to 2007. Dr. Lundstrom graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in 1995 after receiving the Ray Dugan Scholarship. He did his residency in dermatology at the University of Minnesota, where he earned the "Best Clinician" award in 1999.

A multi-sport athlete, Dr. Lundstrom excelled in football, track and basketball at South. He went on to become captain and MVP of the Concordia College football team.

Kaster, a football teammate of Dr. Lundstrom's at Concordia, says he believes Dr. Lundstrom could be the best pure athlete that Fargo South has produced.

"But more importantly, Paul excels as a person," Kaster says.


Richard Rohla

Dr. Richard Rohla is a family practice physician who has been making people feel better for more than 35 years, in no small part due to his tremendous work ethic, compassion and infectious laugh.

Colleagues of the 1971 graduate describe a man who considered medicine his calling and will make time for anyone at any hour of the day. He has mentored several generations of physicians, including South grad Dr. Adrianne Racek.

“He would round on all his hospital patients in the early morning, see about 30-40 patients every day in the clinic and would make time every month for nursing home rounds,” said says Dr. Racek, noting that he took her under his wing and let her shadow him during busy days at the clinic. “People’s faces lit up whenever they saw him in any of those locations.”

He was named Doctor of the Year by his peers at Essentia Health in 2012. Twice he was voted top doctor in the Best of Fargo Magazine. He is past president of the American Heart Association, First District Medical Society, and the Heartland Health Independent Physician Network. He worked in migrant clinics in the 1970s and 80s.

While in high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in band, the student newspaper, Key Club and was a student manager for many teams. He was the school’s first Snow King. He has continued in music as a member of the Master Chorale of Fargo-Moorhead for nearly 30 years.

“Dr. Rohla’s willingness to teach, to work with young medical students, to promote a good education, and to pursue your other interests is what set him apart from the ordinary doctor,” said Dale Lammi, one of Dr. Rohla’s patients.

“And he is a great friend with a great laugh.”


Laurie Schlenker

Former Fargo South principal Richard Warner considers Laurie Schlenker a “true Bruin,” certainly an apt description for someone who graduated from the school in 1979 and eventually returned there to help other students.

Laurie has been a guidance counselor at South since 1989. In that time, she has assisted and guided thousands of students and has been involved in a variety of professional and non-professional organizations in an effort to help students and improve the community.

“I am impressed with Laurie’s ability to make lasting connections to current and former students and families,” South Principal Todd Bertsch says. “Her sincerity is genuine, which fosters a meaningful relationship that is built on trust, assurance and confidence.”

Dave Seifert, one of Laurie’s former cohorts in the South counseling center, says Laurie is a dedicated professional who spends many hours outside the regular school day “in preparation and refinement” of her counseling skills.

“She is very student-centered, helpful to parents and staff, and constantly strives to be innovative in the day-to-day affairs of the counseling center,” Seifert says.

Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Moorhead State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from North Dakota State University. She received her master’s degree in secondary counseling and guidance from NDSU in 1987.

Before joining the South counseling team, Laurie was an English teacher and guidance counselor at Fargo Shanley.

“Laurie, in her role as a counselor, has served several generations of students to be the best Bruins they can be, whether in the classroom or in the community,” Warner says. “Laurie is a positive role model and a great asset for the school.”

While a student at South, Laurie was a standout basketball player and a member of the school choir, student council and the National Athletic Scholarship Society, among other activities.