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Visiting Scholar, Brown University & President Emeritus, Naropa University

Thomas Coburn

Thomas Coburn is President Emeritus of Naropa University in Boulder, CO and a Visiting Scholar at Brown University.  Educated at Princeton (A.B.) and Harvard (M.T.S., Ph.D.) Universities, he taught Asian and comparative religion for 29 years at St. Lawrence University, where he was named Dana Professor and served six years as Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs.  As a young college graduate, Coburn was first drawn to the excitement of international/intercultural issues as a high school teacher of math and physics in the Arab world.  His fascination with India led him to emphasize Hinduism in his subsequent scholarly work, particularly the Great Goddess tradition in Encountering the Goddess.  His commitment to teaching in a liberal arts college setting has allowed him to teach broadly on religious life and to develop intercultural courses that reflect and explore the fluid dynamics of the contemporary world.  Coburn’s all-time favorite teaching semesters were when he twice took students to India for a semester, and when he taught on the Semester at Sea in 1987 and 2013.