Dinnaken residential life director steps down

Over two decades, Nancy Rose Pribyl witnessed the changing face of Washington Ave.

Nancy Rose Pribyl was the president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association for six years and former resident director at Dinnaken for almost 20 years.

Bridget Bennett

Nancy Rose Pribyl was the president of the Stadium Village Commercial Association for six years and former resident director at Dinnaken for almost 20 years.

Meritte Dahl

When Nancy Rose Pribyl started working at Dinnaken Properties in 1993, most students did not own computers, she carried a pager, and the Gophers football team didn’t have its own stadium.

Rose Pribyl worked as resident life director at Dinnaken for almost 20 years, as the company expanded to include Argyle House, Tairrie House and Fulton Townhomes. She stepped down in December.

Rose Pribyl compared the resident life program at Dinnaken, Argyle and Tairrie to those in the dorms. The complexes employ “house fellows” who serve as advisers and plan activities for residents as a community adviser would.

The program is ending in May, said University psychology senior and current resident director Caitlin Fenton. The change will make the Dinnaken apartments more like others in the area.

Rose Pribyl said she loved being a part of the “biggest developmental time” of people’s lives.

“Plus,” she said, “college students are just fun.”

A lifelong friend

Through her work, Rose Pribyl developed lifelong relationships with students and co-workers.

Former house fellows have gone on to work as doctors, nurses, teachers, architects and attorneys, Rose Pribyl said. One went on to work for NASA and another was a reporter at the Star Tribune.

“I have lots of fond memories of living down there and working with Nancy, and basically we’ve become lifelong friends,” said Tammy Torbert, one of Dinnaken’s first resident directors.

Torbert said she hired Rose Pribyl as her replacement because she had great communication and people skills.

“I’ve never met anyone that knows as many people as she does and is able to make as many connections as she did,” Fenton said.

Fenton started working with Rose Pribyl in 2011 as a house fellow at Dinnaken. A year later, Rose Pribyl offered Fenton her job.

“I’ve learned more from this job than I have in school,” Fenton said.

Fenton said she keeps in touch with Rose Pribyl via email and text messages.

Rose Pribyl said she stays in touch with as many people as she can — even with house fellows from years ago. She and Torbert are godparents to each other’s children, and Rose Pribyl regularly hosts parties for Dinnaken staff.

“She’s invited to their weddings and baby showers,” Torbert said. At least four of her former house fellows are expecting, Rose Pribyl said.

These ties are strong thanks in part to Rose Pribyl’s self-proclaimed talent for matchmaking — she takes credit for introducing five married couples.

“She actually introduced me to my husband,” Torbert said.

When she was resident director, Rose Pribyl said, many tenants would ask her for advice on engagement rings.

“I’m just a sucker for love,” she said.

Local ties

Rose Pribyl’s connection to her community began early on.

A Minneapolis native, she attended Southwest High School and graduated from St. Cloud State University in 1986 with degrees in speech communication and mass communication.

Before working at Dinnaken, Rose Pribyl held a position in residential life at St. Cloud State University and at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

From 1993-97, she lived at Dinnaken House with her husband and two children.

Jim Rosvold worked at the security desk at Dinnaken and lived on the floor above Rose Pribyl and her family.

“Having Nancy as a neighbor below me, we always were very very cautious when we blasted the music that we were going to get in big trouble,” he said.

Rosvold said he remembers when Rose Pribyl’s children — who are now 18 and 21 years old — were barely able to reach elevator buttons.

Rosvold, who now owns Campus Pizza, served as the Stadium Village Commercial Association president for four years.

Rose Pribyl held the title from 2007-12, although she was initially resistant to take over for Rosvold. She said she thought a business owner, not an employee, should be president, but was later talked into it.

“I was happy to pass the torch,” Rosvold said.

As Stadium Village Commerical Association president, Rose Pribyl helped maintain Stadium Village’s appearance and worked with business owners and the Minneapolis City Council on issues like the new light-rail line, she said.

Stadium Village has gone through many changes since Rose Pribyl lived at Dinnaken. When she took the job, Sally’s Saloon and Eatery had only been open a year, and Washington Avenue had a bakery and a drycleaner.

Rose Pribyl said she remembers pushing a stroller along Washington Avenue with her husband.

“[Now] my kids will be living in college housing,” she said, “and I’m finally done.”