Board Members at Milarepa Center

Debb Colony.png

Debb Colony, Treasurer

Debb has long been connected to the FPMT and to the dharma since takingrefuge with Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche in 2001.  Her interest in Buddhism wassparked in college where she majored in philosophy with a focus on easternthought. Debb has had various connections to the Milarepa Center over theyears both directly and through her son, Venerable Tenzin Gache, as well as hersister, past Milarepa Center & FPMT education director, Merry Colony. Debbalso served as a board member for Kurukulla Center for many years. Debbtravels to India often to visit her son at the Sera Monastery and to attendthe teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa, the late ChodenRinpoche, and others.  

Debra Thornburg.jpg

Debra Thornburg, Secretary, FPMT Appointee

Debra first encountered Buddhism in 1978 when, on a whim, she attended a retreat in California with Mahasi Sayadaw on his first trip from Burma to the States. In the following years, she studied and practiced at Sayadaw’s center in Rangoon, Insight Meditation Society in Barre and Naropa Institute in Boulder. After a move to Boston and meeting Lama Zopa Rinpoche, she became an active member of Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies. Over the years, she has held various administrative and managerial positions at Insight Meditation Society, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Kurukulla Center including tenures as Spiritual Program Coordinator and Director at the latter. Debra is also the center's appointed grievance steward as well as one of the center's designated protection persons. 


Nina Tomkiewicz, Board Member

Nina developed an interest in spirituality and meditation while in college, and in 2010 she spent 6 months in India through a study abroad program where she participated in a 10-day and a 3-day Vipassana meditation retreat. After graduating she sought a way to continue exploring meditation, spirituality, and Buddhism, which led her to be involved with the FPMT. Nina served as the Kitchen Manager at both Milarepa Center and Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture between the years of 2011 – 2015. Since moving to San Diego in 2015 she has been a participant and contributor to Insight San Diego, works as a mental health provider, and has stayed connected to Milarepa Center over the years by being a supporting member. 


Jim Hagan, Board Chair

Jim Hagan is a long-time student of Venerable Lama Thubten Yeshe and Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He attended three Kopan Monastery Meditation courses in the 1970’s and took refuge with the Venerable Lama Thubten Yeshe in 1974 after the fifth meditation course. From 1973 to 1983 in India and Nepal, he studied with many distinguished teachers such as Geshe Rabten, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, and H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Over the last 40 years he has received teachings from all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Jim recently retired as a professor at Castleton University of Vermont from the Philosophy Department where he taught courses on Asian and Buddhist philosophy. He also created and owned Wisdom Study Abroad for twenty years offering students the opportunity to earn academic credit studying Buddhist art, culture, and philosophy in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Jim has long ties and connections to Milarepa Center since the 1980’s.