About NaropaLeadershipPast PresidentsJohn Whitehouse Cobb
John cobb

John Whitehouse Cobb

President (1993-2003; 2011-2012), Core Faculty


After graduating from Harvard College in 1966 and Columbia Law School in 1969, Cobb worked as a VISTA lawyer with Colorado Rural Legal Services, primarily with indigent clients and migrant farm workers. He continued to work in the public sector for Navajo Legal Services in New Mexico and Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Bangor, ME, from 1980–83. He served as Director of Colorado Coalition of Legal Services Programs and Western Regional Training Center in Denver from 1980–83 and then was in private practice in Boulder for ten years.

Through a series of auspicious coincidences, he was appointed president of Naropa University in 1993 and served until 2003. He also served on Naropa’s Board of Trustees since 1985. He designed and taught a course in leadership in Naropa’s Environmental Leadership Program, and also taught “Freedom is Just Another Word: The Evolution of the Bill of Rights” at Naropa. He is a prolific poet in his spare time. Cobb is the author of Footnotes to the Inexplicable: A Memoir in Verse.

Bird watching is another of his passions—an activity he shares with his wife, Bayard. John and Bayard have one son, Joshua Cobb, and two grandchildren. Since leaving the presidency, Bayard and John have been actively involved in the establishment of the Peace Studies degree at Naropa and their support led the Board of Trustees to create the Bayard and John Cobb Annual Peace Lecture.

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