Purpose Pioneer Richard Leider Joins Notre Dame Institute For Advanced Study

A bestselling author and practitioner on purposeful living and working, Richard Leider has been named a 2020-21 nonresident public fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. He will also partner with the Inspired Leadership Initiative (ILI) and the Office of the Provost.

“Richard’s global experience and in-depth knowledge of purpose and meaning bring incredible resources to our mission at Notre Dame,” says Fellow and Trustee Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., who will work directly with Leider through the Office of the Provost and the ILI. “He will influence a wide range of students for lifelong learning that will help make them not only smarter people but better human beings.”

For more than four decades, Leider has been asking people, “Why do you get up in the morning?” His research suggests the answer–and, if needed, discovering the answer–is vital.

“Purpose is not a luxury; it is fundamental to health, healing, happiness, leadership, and, even, longevity,” he says. “It is especially relevant in times of uncertainty like we face today. I have found that Notre Dame is distinct in its willingness to dive deeply into the discernment side of purpose, and that excites me as a learner.”

As a public fellow, Leider will provide strategic guidance and programming design for the ILI, University courses, and alumni activities. He will serve as a resource to the community of scholars at NDIAS and will work with them to create a “toolkit” that others can use to teach and learn the power of purpose.

Leider’s work at the NDIAS will focus on the institute’s 2020-21 theme, the nature of trust.

“We are thrilled to have Richard join us as a public fellow, helping the other institute members find deeper ways to engage the public, the business community, and others with cutting edge research related to our trust theme,” says Meghan Sullivan, director of the NDIAS and Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy. “Richard is an expert coach and communicator and will teach us how to foster greater trust between the community and the academy this year.”

“All trust starts with trusting yourself,” says Leider. “Purpose is about that, about trusting yourself and being authentic to yourself.”

Leider is the founder of Inventure–The Purpose Company. He has written ten books– including three best sellers–and will soon release another: Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old? The Path of Aging on Purpose. Two of his books, The Power of Purpose and Repacking Your Bags, are regarded as classics in the personal growth field. The prolific author is also a sought-after speaker and coach, working with organizations such as United Health Group, Habitat for Humanity, the Mayo Clinic, the National Football League, and the U.S. Department of State. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in counseling from University of Northern Colorado.

Leider is also a senior fellow in the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing. He lives with his wife, Sally, on the St. Croix River outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The NDIAS convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty fellows, top doctoral candidates, and undergraduate scholars to study questions that require a joint focus, benefit from sustained research and discussion, and advance our understanding on core issues that affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. To learn more about the fellowship program and the institute, please visit

The ILI is for accomplished individuals from all disciplines who have completed their chosen careers and wish to spend an academic year at Notre Dame reflecting on their past experience, shaping the direction of their future, and sharing their wisdom, experience, and knowledge with the Notre Dame community. To learn more about the program, please visit