Pema Chödrön Named as Naropa University’s Commencement Speaker


Celebrated Buddhist Leader to Share Message of Bravery and Compassion with 300 Graduates at Sold-Out Auditorium and Via Live Webstream


Boulder, CO (May 5, 2014): Naropa University is pleased to welcome internationally renowned author and Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön as the keynote speaker for its 2014 Spring Commencement ceremony. Pema Chödrön's address, which begins at approximately 4:30 p.m. MST on May 10, will be live-streamed on

Naropa's 2014 graduating class includes more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students, who will receive BA, BFA, MA, MFA, and MDiv degrees in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology, and religious studies. Ceremony highlights include a faculty address by Dr. Deborah Bowman, professor of Transpersonal Counseling Psychology. The undergraduate address will be delivered by Elle Rich, BA, Interdisciplinary Studies. The graduate address will be delivered by Lisa Rome, MA, Environmental Leadership. All tickets for Naropa's 2014 Commencement have been distributed, making it one of the most highly sought-after tickets in recent memory.

"Naropa University and Pema Chödrön have been inextricably linked throughout our forty-year history," said Charles G. Lief, president of Naropa University. "Pema is an influential and insightful teacher to millions of people around the world, and her longtime connection to her root teacher and Naropa founder Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche makes her a wonderful commencement speaker for our 40th Anniversary year." 

"For forty years, Naropa University has produced outstanding graduates who have made a deep impact on the world, and I am delighted to serve as this year's Commencement speaker," said Pema Chödrön. "To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To the class of 2014, I congratulate you on your achievements and encourage you to explore your new surroundings with open eyes and hearts, and with a commitment to help us make the world a better place."

Pema Chödrön's connection to Naropa dates back to 1974, when she began studying with her root guru, Naropa University's founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She has served as director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, and later as director of Gampo Abbey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia—a monastery for Western monks and nuns that she established at the instruction of Trungpa Rinpoche, with whom she continued to study until his death in 1987. Pema has also initiated the creation of the Pema Chödrön Foundation which supports the Buddhist contemplative tradition in the west and also aims to help nuns in the Himalayan region have the same opportunities for training studying and retreat practice as monks have always enjoyed. Her books include When Things Fall Apart, The Wisdom of No EscapeStart Where You AreNo Time to LosePracticing Peace in Times of WarHow to Meditate, and Living Beautifully.

About Naropa University ( Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2014-15, Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education; an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom studies and traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.