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Academics Faith & Spirituality

Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary names Shawn Colberg as new dean

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

Colberg is associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University and associate dean in the Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

“I am honored to serve Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary as dean,” Colberg said. “We have a tremendous mission which stands at the heart of Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s: to deliver world class theological education and formation that prepares women and men for collaborative service and transformational leadership in the church and wider 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 drawn from across the globe.” 

“We are positioned to do great things in the years ahead thanks in part to the wise leadership of our current dean, Fr. Dale Launderville, OSB, as well as sponsorship by Saint John’s Abbey and our rich continuing collaboration with Saint Benedict’s Monastery. Our record of success in forming and placing graduate students in professional settings is second to none, and I am excited to support this special work into the future,” he added.

Originally from Dassel, Minnesota with his home parish in nearby Darwin, Colberg received his undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College. He completed a Master of Divinity degree at the Yale School of Divinity and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame with areas of focus in medieval and Reformation theology. 

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

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

“On behalf of the Board of Regents, I offer congratulations to Dr. Colberg in his appointment as dean of the School of Theology and Seminary,” said Dennis Smid, chair of the School of Theology and Seminary Board of Regents. “The Board believes that Dr. Colberg has the aptitude, attitude and leadership skills to guide the School of Theology and Seminary in the challenging times ahead. The Board looks forward to working with him to advance the mission of the school as a valued component of Saint John’s University and an impactful contributor to the Catholic Church.”

“Shawn Colberg is a highly regarded teacher with significant publications in the area of medieval church history,” Launderville added. “His passionate commitment to the Catholic and Benedictine tradition has drawn him to administrative work in the School of Theology and Seminary. His excellent service as School of Theology and Seminary associate dean for the past three years has positioned him well for carrying out the responsibilities of the 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 the 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 school of Catholic higher education 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 for advanced degrees in theology as well as lay and ordained ministry in the Church. With an enrollment of more than 100 students, the school forms students for life, ministry and service by integrating rigorous academics, Benedictine practices and a spiritual community in a contemplative environment. Alums serve in parishes, monasteries, hospitals, non-profits, high schools, colleges and universities throughout the United States and the world.

Shawn Colberg

Dr. Shawn Colberg