Nov 20, 2017 Print This Article

Professor Emeritus Kolb receives honorary doctorate from Slovak university

Dr. Robert Kolb receives an honorary doctorate Nov. 13 from the Slovak Comenius University in Bratislava (CU). Photo courtesy Comenius University.

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis Professor Emeritus and renowned Reformation scholar Dr. Robert Kolb recently received an honorary doctorate from the Slovak Comenius University in Bratislava (CU), the largest university in Slovakia. Kolb’s honorary doctorate was the 122nd to be awarded by the university.

With the title, Kolb joins the ranks of others who have received the same honor including former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2015) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2014).

“It is wonderful to see Professor Kolb being honored in this way,” said Interim Provost Dr. Paul Robinson. “He is an outstanding model of the Lutheran ideal of bringing first-rate scholarship together with proclamation of the Gospel. It is a privilege and a delight to serve with him on the faculty of Concordia Seminary.”

Kolb received the degree for his contribution to “Reformation research and long-term cooperation with the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of the CU,” according to a news release from the university.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome such a unique personality with an exceptional skill to integrate Reformation, history, research and theological education and able to reflect an importance of faith and church in the present world, at our ‘national’ university in a year when we commemorate 500 years from Reformation,” said Professor Karol Mičieta, rector of Comenius University in Bratislava, at the Nov. 13 ceremony.

For years, Kolb has aided Slovak researchers through the Evangelical Lutheran Theological Faculty of CU. He led the Summer Theological Academy, which is a program of continuing education for theologians from Slovakia, Serbia, Romania, Silesia and for Ph.D. students of the faculty in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2014.

“From my first lay seminars in Slovakia in 1994, the stalwart confession and practice of our faith that marked the lives of Slovak Lutherans in the face of the fascist government of the 1940s and the subsequent Communist suppression of the churches inspired me, and it has been a great blessing to be able to work with both congregations and the theological faculty in Bratislava,” Kolb said.

Kolb retired from Concordia Seminary in 2009 after 16 years of distinguished service as missions professor. He previously served as director of the Seminary’s Institute for Mission Studies and the Center for Reformation Research. He is a prolific writer, recently authoring Martin Luther and the Enduring Word of God and The Genius of Luther’s Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church with the Seminary’s Dean of Theological Research and Publication Dr. Charles Arand. Along with Kolb, the dean of the CU faculty L’ubomír Batka and CU  Professor Dr. Irene Dingel, director of the Leibniz-Institute for European History in Mainz, edited the Oxford Handbook to Martin Luther’s Theology.

Kolb received his Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Concordia Seminary (1967, 1968). He also earned a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (1969, 1973). In addition to the CU honorary doctorate, Kolb holds honorary degrees from Valparaiso University (2000); Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. (2005); and Concordia University in Irvine, Calif. (2008).

Comenius University awards honorary doctorates to Slovak and international figures who have significantly contributed to the development of education, science, culture, democracy and human values, and who have personally helped bring civilizational progress by spreading education and humanism.

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit