Dr. Chuck Ribley

Going His Own Way
River Has Cut a Path

There is little doubt the Life Movement that became Life University largely owes its founding to the determination and charisma of one man, Dr. Sid E. Williams and his partner in life, Dr. Nell Williams. There is equally little doubt, without the continued unwavering support of his cofounders,* Dr. Williams could have been successful in realizing the vision of Life University.

In the same way, there is little doubt Life University owes its continued existence to one person, Dr. “River” Chuck Ribley, who had the faith, courage, and optimism needed to see LIFE through its darkest days. The cofounders – and many others, including devoted faculty and staff – all continued their unwavering support, which was the essential element Dr. Ribley needed to achieve the alchemy of breathing life back into LIFE.

As chair of the Board of Trustees at the time of Life University’s 2002 accreditation crisis, Dr. Ribley led the institution through its darkest days, which were tragically unwarranted, given that a federal court later ruled the suspension of LIFE’s accreditation to have been unjustified. It was Dr. Ribley who had the unenviable task of carrying on – through what must have been the deeply personal pain of having to accept Dr. Williams’ resignation, of informing students and employees their degrees and jobs were in jeopardy – and carrying the torch until he, his fellow co-founders, and diehard LIFE supporters could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When Life University marked its thirty-fifth year, Dr. Ribley was quoted as saying:

 I remember talking to the students about it. Before that, I had always been able to inspire students about chiropractic, and I got rounds of applause. Not this time. It was like being tarred and feathered. It was all very severe and very stressful. When you see good faculty lose their jobs, when you see neighborhood businesses close because the students suddenly are gone… well, we’ll just say it was bad, very bad. Innate sometimes tells you it’s time to clarify. And that’s what we were determined to do. To see what we hadn’t been seeing, and to correct whatever deficiencies existed and keep moving forward with courage and excellence.

Dr. Ribley continued to lead the way toward the light at the end of the tunnel, through two more presidents, layoffs, sell offs and reorganization, until the final piece fell into place. Another Vitalistic visionary, Dr. Guy Riekeman, was that final piece. Dr. Ribley knew Life University needed another world-class leader who could bring a new following to LIFE and build a coalition big enough to include everyone with an equally large vision of creating a comprehensive model of healthcare and wellbeing founded on chiropractic philosophy. Again, with many of the original co-founders, Dr. Ribley led the way as the Life University Board of Trustees welcomed, directed and supported Dr. Riekeman in one of the most astonishing and impressive turnarounds in the history of higher education.

Life University is not the only accomplishment Dr. Ribley has achieved through his lifetime as a Vitalistic visionary.  He served for ten years on the Michigan Board of Chiropractic Examiners and founded the Michigan Association of Chiropractors where he led growth to over 2000 members in just four years. Dr. Ribley also founded Inner Winners, a program designed to facilitate participants’ ability to unleash their optimal potential by removing any interference they may be generating.

Nor are Dr. Ribley’s contributions limited to those he himself have made. Together with his wife and partner, Ruth “Sunshine” Ribley, he has created a living legacy with three sons and a son-in-law serving their communities as practicing chiropractors – and sees the potential for more in a grandson and granddaughter.

Not one to give in to a sedentary existence, Dr. Ribley remains active and vital by serving as a consultant to the Life University Board of Trustees. He also adds to the growth of the profession through regular lectures to chiropractors and students in the USA, Europe and Australia on the importance of chiropractic activism.

TCL readers who would like to communicate with Dr. Ribley may do so directly by emailing him at chuckribley@yahoo.com


*Life College of Chiropractic/University Co-Founders

  •   Sidney E. Williams, D.C.
  •   Nell Williams, D.C.
  •   Ian Grassam, D.C.
  •   Janet Grassam
  •   Charles Ribley, D.C.
  •   Ruth Ribley
  •   R. James Gregg, D.C.
  •   John A. Hofmann, D.C.
  •   Thomas O. Morgan, D.C.
  • Mary Ann Morgan
  •  Wayne King, D.C.
  • Michael Nathanson, D.C
  • Ralph Ungerank, D.C
  • Wilma Ungerank
  • Jim Sigafoose, D.C.
  • Patsy Sigafoose




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