Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary appoints Shawn Colberg as new Dean – CSB/SJU



Dr. Shawn Colberg was recently named the new Dean of Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, effective July 1. He replaces Fr. Dale Launderville, OSB, who has held this position since 2015.

Colberg is Associate Professor of Theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University and Associate Dean of Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

“I am honored to serve Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary as Dean,” said Colberg. “We have a tremendous mission that lies at the heart of Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s: to provide world-class theological education and training that prepares women and men for collaborative service and transformational leadership in the Church and in the whole world.

“We are anchored not only by our Catholic and Benedictine mission, but also by an internationally renowned faculty that publishes and serves the Christian community at all levels, as well as a diverse, ecumenical and highly talented student body from around the world. ”

“We are well positioned to do great things in the years to come thanks in part to the wise leadership of our current Dean, Fr. Dale Launderville, OSB, as well as the sponsorship of Saint John’s Abbey and our continued rich collaboration with the monastery of Saint Benedict. Our track record of success in training and placing graduate students in professional settings is second to none, and I am delighted to support this special work in the future,” he added.

A native of Dassel, Minnesota, with his home parish in nearby Darwin, Colberg earned his undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College. He received a master’s degree in theology from the Yale School of Divinity and received a doctorate. from the University of Notre Dame with areas of interest in medieval and Reformation theology.

“Shawn Colberg brings excellent credentials as a scholar and teacher, as well as a deep commitment to our Catholic Benedictine tradition,” said SJU Transitional President James Mullen. “He has an exceptional vision for the School of Theology and Seminary and will build on the extraordinary legacy that Fr. Dale established during his tenure as Dean.

Published widely in journals, Colberg recently published a book on the theologies of grace and human agency in St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas titled The Traveler’s End. Prior to joining the faculty of CSB and SJU, Colberg served as assistant professor for teaching and associate chair for graduate studies in the Department of Theology at Notre Dame.

“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I extend my congratulations to Dr. Colberg on his appointment as Dean of the School of Theology and Seminary,” said Dennis Smid, Chairman of the Board of Regents of the School of Theology and of the Seminar. “The Board of Trustees believes that Dr. Colberg has the aptitude, attitude, and leadership skills to guide the School of Theology and Seminary through the difficult times ahead. The board looks forward to working with him to further the school’s mission as a valued part of Saint John’s University and as an influential contributor to the Catholic Church.

“Shawn Colberg is a highly regarded teacher with significant publications in the field of medieval church history,” Launderville added. “His passionate commitment to the Catholic and Benedictine tradition led him to work in the administration of the School of Theology and the Seminary. His excellent service as Associate Dean of the School of Theology and Seminary over the past three years has positioned him well to assume the responsibilities of Dean. We are blessed to have him as our new leader in the summer of 2022.”

Shawn Colberg is married to Kristin Colberg, associate professor of theology at CSB and SJU and Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary. They live in St. Joseph, with their two daughters Mary Clare and Catherine who are both students at St. Cloud Cathedral High School.

Founded in 1857 by Saint John’s Abbey as the first Catholic school of higher learning in Minnesota and now integrated with Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict, Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary educates women and men in advanced degrees in theology as well as in lay and ordained ministry in the Church. With an enrollment of over 100 students, the school trains students for life, ministry, and service by integrating rigorous academics, Benedictine practices, and spiritual community in a contemplative environment. Alumni serve in parishes, monasteries, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, high schools, colleges, and universities in the United States and around the world.

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