Rico, Gabriele Lusser (1937-2013)

Rico, Gabriele Lusser (1937-2013)

Date Updated



English and Comparative Literature; Creative Arts

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Facebook or Website URL

Gabriele Rico Challenge for Nonfiction


Educational Background

Stanford University, 1976 Ph.D.

San José State University, 1964 M.A.

San José State University, 1959 B.A.

Teaching Experience

San José State University, 1964-2008

San José City College, 1963

Camden H.S., San José, CA, 1959-1964

Administrative and Professional Experience

Worldwide Speaker on brain research, writing, & creativity, 1976-

SJSU Director of Composition in English; Coordinator of Upper Division Writing Exam campus-wide. Teacher of Writing Intensives for many years.

Publisher, Natural Way Publishing, 2011 -

Selected Publications

Carlson & Rico, Western Literature: Themes and Writers, McGraw-Hill, 1974

Writing the Natural Way, 1983, 2000. Tarcher/Penguin

Pain and Possibility: Writing Your Way through Personal Crisis, Tarcher, 1991

Guth & Rico, Discovering Literature, Prentice-Hall, 1992

Creating Re-Creations: Inspiration from the Source; Absey Press 2002

Guth & Rico, Writing in a Changing World, Allyn & Bacon, 2003; etc.

Personal Commentary

An immigrant from Germany (my Father was a German Rocket scientist), I didn’t speak English until I was almost 12. I wanted so badly to belongto America, I spoke almost without accent within seven months. Because of war’s rubbled aftermath, I attended only 9 months total of elementary school as a fourth grader in a tiny country school combining eight grades. My mother, killed in a bombing raid just before war’s end, was replaced by a step-mother who added four children to the five he already had, making my teenage years complicated, including yearly moves and four high schools, the last at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL.

I matriculated at U.C. Berkeley, discovering that its out of-state tuition was prohibitive, my finances forcing me to shift to SJSU. I have never been sorry. Not only did I learn much from my caring professors, but I ended up teaching at SJSU for 40 years. Betwixt and between, I was––to my shock–– accepted at Stanford in a self-designed major involving brain research and creativity which led to the writing of books, articles, and to a circuit of many speeches, radically changing the trajectory of my life. This research yielded a brainstorming process, Clustering, which is a staple of schools, corporations, software, and textbooks today.

I became a passionate writer, was selected President’s Scholar in 1986, chosen Teacher/Scholar in 1991, and held an Endowed Chair at Notre Dame in Belmont, CA. in 1992.

I haven’t “retired.” I’m actively working on three books: a Memoir of my wartime childhood, ending with my arrival in America; a book entitled, Write to Fly Again; and the most challenging, how intensifying human time-consciousness (involving brains research findings, literature, and physics) has developed civilization and culture. Whether or not I can complete this daunting challenge remains a question.

Last year, against my better judgment, I started a small Publishing house to give worthy books––which are lost in the grand jungle of publishing–– a chance to see the light of day. I’ve published two to date, have seven more in the queue (two by former SJSU students). Crazy, I know, but I’m giving back.

Survivor of two cancers, each day I am grateful for the privilege of being an American, for my long, productive participation in the SJSU community, which simultaneously gave me the freedom to spread my wings to fly in unanticipated directions, and for the ongoing gift of learning, leading to ever-new challenges.

Date Completed:November 11, 2011


Rico, Gabriele Lusser (1937-2013)