David Kolb

Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy

Read at the Senior-Faculty Dinner, May 22, 2003, on the occasion of his recognition of service, by President Elaine Tuttle Hansen. Prepared by Professor of Religion and Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies Carl Benton Straub.

David Kolb, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy, has shared his distinguished career with students and colleagues in the College since 1977, when he came here from the University of Chicago. He earned his baccalaureate degree from Fordham summa cum laude, then his licentiate in philosophy summa cum laude. His Ph.D. is from Yale, where he was a Kent Fellow and recipient of the Tew Prize in Philosophy.

David Kolb’s intellectual interests are protean; his scholarly work is relentless. Despite a significant publishing career, his commitment to teaching and his diverse contributions to the curriculum in philosophy, are noted with special gratitude. He has written and taught in the great traditions of philosophy, including the Greeks, the philosophies of religion, of science, of art. He is an internationally recognized scholar of Hegel. But he also has explored the boundaries between philosophy and modern/postmodern culture, and the role of the technologies in cultural change. These explorations have embraced contemporary Japanese culture. Some of his latest work, including course work, has been reflections on contemporary architecture and on hypertext.

Professor Kolb has always recognized the obligations of the scholar and teacher to join in nurturing the common life, to share in sustaining those institutions that protect and celebrate human reflection. From yeoman service on this campus to wide-ranging dialogues on critical philosophical issues, he has brought wise counsel and learnéd insight. He has chaired the Division of the Humanities and the Department of Philosophy and Religion; he has chaired or served on many of the crucial committees of the faculty and of the College. He is a steady participant in important philosophical collaborations, nationally and internationally. He presently serves as president of the Hegel Society of America.

In person and by profession, Professor Kolb exemplifies the perennial importance of philosophy in reflecting upon the problematic affairs of humankind.

David, on behalf of your students, your faculty colleagues and your friends, we are honored to recognize you on the occasion of your retirement from the College and extend our deep appreciation, indebtedness and best wishes.