About NaropaLeadershipPast PresidentsJohn Baker

John Baker

Vice President (1974-1975), Core Faculty


John Baker grew up in Summit, New Jersey. He attended Yale and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. From 1968–70 he taught sixth grade in New York’s Chinatown.

He met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1970 and moved to Boulder to live, serve and study with him. Baker co-founded and ran the Karma Dzong Buddhist Center in 1971 and Naropa Institute in 1973, serving as its first CEO until 1975. He taught at Naropa until 1978, lecturing on Buddhism, Tibetan history and Chinese religions. He co-edited Trungpa Rinpoche’s Cutting through Spiritual Materialism and The Myth of Freedom and has published articles on Buddhist psychology and meditation.

In 1978, he founded Travel Industries Inc., serving as its CEO until 1999 when he and his brother sold the company. Baker retired a year later. From 1993–2000 Baker served as a board member, treasurer and president of the Boulder County Mental Health Center.

He’s married to Natalie Nance Baker, a Naropa alumna (TCP ’99) and psychotherapist. They have a daughter, Olivia. John also has a daughter, Cara, in her thirties and a granddaughter. In 2000, John and Natalie Baker moved to Pound Ridge, New York where they teach Buddhism and co-lead Buddhist psychotherapy groups.

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