On October 17, 2011, the Naropa University Board of Trustees appointed John Whitehouse
Cobb, former President of Naropa University from 1993–2003 to serve as Acting President.
During his previous tenure, Naropa Institute became Naropa University. His return
is welcome news for The Kerouac School, as John Cobb is an accomplished author, having
written two books of poetry: Searching for the Moment: Poems on Occasion at Naropa
University (fosilpres, 2003) and Footnotes to the Inexplicable: A Memoir in Verse
(Slickrock Press, 2007). Cobb was President when our low-residency MFA in Creative
Writing was designed and implemented. In fact, he holds an honorary MFA from the Kerouac
Along with his wife, Bayard Cobb, John has been actively involved in the establishment
of the Peace Studies degree program at Naropa. Their support led the board of trustees
to create the Bayard and John Cobb Peace Lecture. He continues to teach "Law Human
Rights and Social Change" in Peace Studies.
Above are the objective facts of President Cobb's return to Naropa. From a personal
perspective...Naropa has always presented an alternative: an alternative to conformity,
to complacency, and has been in the trenches, pushing back against the ongoing cultural
assault on the imagination. In recent years there has been a deeply felt concern on
this writer's part that our singularly alternative path has been diluted, altered,
perhaps even supplanted. When references were made to the "New Naropa" one feared
for what that scenario might actually include. One held a concern that, at the very
least, we would drift into the humdrum condition of being merely another private liberal
But one's faith has been restored by long-time board member Charles G. Lief being
named the head of the Board of Trustees, and John Cobb's selection as Acting President.
Both have clear, deep and abiding ties to Naropa's Buddhist-inspired mission and lineage.
As I was at, say, the inception of not enough night, I find myself excited and hopeful
once again; proud to be a part of this multi-century experiment and much needed alternative
that is Naropa....