Alumni News Archive
Dr. Thomas B. Coburn '61 returned to visit Wooster School's campus on November 20.
An expert in religious studies, Dr. Coburn was a guest lecturer in our 9th Grade Humanities classes. While on campus he also joined faculty and students for lunch in the Dining Room where a portrait of his grandfather, the Reverend Dr. Aaron C. Coburn, Wooster's founder and the first headmaster, is still on display today.
While this was a homecoming for Tom, it was a remarkable opportunity for our students. His life's work and experience are of great value, and he enjoyed sharing them with our currents faculty and students.
His bio, borrowed from Naropa University's website (where Tom was President for six years before retiring), is included below.
Dr. Thomas B. Coburn was president of Naropa University from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2009. (He is currently President Emeritus of Naropa, American's only Buddhist inspired University.) Dr. Coburn is a renowned scholar and academician in the field of religious studies and is a widely published author specializing in South and East Asia and the Islamic world. He is considered one of the world's leading experts on the Hindu tradition of the great goddess. Dr. Coburn received a doctorate in the comparative study of religion from Harvard University in 1977, a master's degree in the history of religion also from Harvard in 1969, and a bachelor's degree in religion from Princeton University in 1965.
During his six years as vice president and dean of academic affairs at St. Lawrence University, Dr. Coburn oversaw major initiatives in comprehensive curriculum reform; facilities improvement; expansion of the faculty, student admissions and fundraising; as well as the development of a new compensation policy. In addition, Dr. Coburn also contributed significantly to the growth of grant support for St. Lawrence University, with grants received throughout his tenure in academic affairs approaching $4.5 million. Dr. Coburn also spent time as the director of the New York State Independent College Consortium for Study in India, was a visiting faculty member on the University of Pittsburgh Semester at Sea, and spent a year as a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School.
Tom is a true success story of a Wooster graduate! Thank you Tom for spending some time back at Wooster!