Charles Lief is the President of Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Founded in 1974, Naropa is the birthplace of Contemplative Education and the modern mindfulness movement. Naropa serves 1000 undergraduate and graduate students in Boulder and increasingly more online and through programs in Authentic Leadership, Mindfulness in the Workplace, general extended studies and professional development. Naropa’s 60 core faculty and more than 200 adjunct professors deliver a curriculum built upon a foundation of contemplation, mindfulness and compassion. Majors include undergraduate and graduate degrees in counseling psychology, elementary education, religious studies, pastoral counseling, performing and fine arts, writing and poetics, environmental studies, peace studies and a robust interdisciplinary program.
Chuck has been a Buddhist practitioner for 45 years, studying closely with the Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Naropa founder, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, and is a teacher in that lineage. Chuck was the first President of the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, New York, one of the earliest models of integrated nonprofit social enterprises and service providers. As a principal in the Hartland Group of Burlington, Vermont, Chuck worked to create affordable housing and economic development projects in Vermont and New Hampshire. He was a founding board member and CEO for Amida Care, a nonprofit, special needs HMO for low income residents of New York living with HIV/AIDS and chronic mental illness, today a $450 million social enterprise. He has been a member of many nonprofit boards working toward sustainable social, economic and personal transformation.
Chuck now serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of Lions Roar Foundation, which publishes the magazines “Lion’s Roar” and “Buddhadharma”, and is also a member of the Veteran’s PATH and the Bridge House Board of Directors. He is married to the Buddhist teacher and author, Judy Lief, and has two adult daughters and three grandchildren.