University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Robert Dyson holding up the golden bowl from Hasanlu

Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum, image #148612

Dr. Robert H. Dyson, Jr., Emeritus Fellow, founding President of the Louis J. Kolb Society of Fellows was instrumental in conceptualizing and organizing the Kolb Society. He is pictured here holding aloft a golden bowl from the site of Hasanlu, Iran in 1958. The picture is housed in the Penn museum archive and was featured in the January 12, 1959, issue of Life magazine in the article "The Secrets of a Golden Bowl" (pp. 55–60).

In a manner similar to the Penn museum, the Kolb Society has a long-standing commitment to archaeological research and the investigation and publication of artifacts from excavation and museum settings. Due to its intrinsic makeup, the Kolb Society maintains connections to excavation and archaeological endeavors throughout the world. Kolb society junior fellows, fellows, senior fellows, and emeritus fellows actively engage in research projects in diverse areas encompassing a variety of cultures and a wide frame of time.

Kolb Society Expeditions

Kolb fellows excavation in a variety of locations throughout the world.








Near East





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Kolb Society Fall Colloquium and Dinner: History

The Kolb Society dinner was first conceived by founder Peter Paanakker, along with Dr. Robert H. Dyson, Jr., and Jerome C. Byrne, Esq., who cemented their plans for the Kolb Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with a dinner in 1987. Each year, at the insistence of Peter Paanakker and in memory of the founding dinner of the Kolb Society, the student and faculty fellows, and the directors of the Kolb Foundation meet at the Kolb Society dinner, often held at an upscale Philadelphia restaurant.

In 1988, a group photo commemorated one of the first gatherings of the Kolb Society of Fellows.

Kolb Dinner Group 1988
Kolb Society 1988: (front row, left to right) Director Jerome C. Byrne, Senior Fellows Renata Holod and Eliot Stellar; (second row, left to right) Junior Fellows Lada Onyshkevyeh, Bien Chiang, Matthew Adams, John Lawrence, Senior Fellow Ruben Reina; (back row, left to right) President Robert Dyson, Jr., Junior Fellow Bratislav Pantelic, Director Peter Paanakker, Senior Fellows Bernard Wailes and James Muhly. Junior Fellows John Holloran and Cynthia Robinson are absent.


Senior Fellows in 1988: Eliot Stellar, Ruben Reina, Jim Muhly, Renata Holod, and Bernard Wailes with Robert Dyson, Jr.

The Kolb Society's first senior fellows were appointed in 1986, and included Renata Holod from the Department of the History of Art, Eliot Stellar, a professor in the Department of Anatomy at the Penn School of Medicine, Ruben Reina and Bernard Wailes from the Anthropology Department and Jim Muhly from what was then the Ancient History Graduate Group. Robert Dyson was the initial president of the society and the director of the museum.

Eliot Stellar retired from Penn in 1990, becoming an emeritus professor and fellow. In that same year, Holly Pittman, a professor in the Department of the History of Art was appointed as a Kolb senior fellow.

Dyson and Wailes in 1991
Kolb Dinner 1991: Robert Dyson, Jr., (standing) and Bernard Wailes

Each year the number of Kolb Junior Fellows grew and the tables filled out as the Kolb Society celebrated its annual fall dinner. A tradition evolved where junior fellows would present a synopsis of their research before dinner for their benefactors and the assembled group of fellows. As students graduated and became fellows, they still returned each year to the Kolb dinner.

Group at Table 1992
Kolb Dinner 1992

The first Kolb dinners took place each year at Le Bec Fin in center city Philadelphia.

Kolb Dinner 1992
From left to right: Bernard Wailes, Matt Adams, Jim Muhly, and Richard Zettler

Robert Dyson retired as director of the museum and became an emeritus fellow. Jerry Sabloff took his place as director of the museum and president of the Kolb society.

Jeremy and Holly
Dinner 1995: Jeremy Sabloff, president, and Holly Pittman, senior fellow

Jeremy Sabloff was director of the museum and the Kolb Society president from 1994 until 2004. During his tenure the society expanded and the expectations for the junior fellows evolved.

As long as they were able, Peter Paanakker and Jerome Byrne attended each Kolb dinner. The dinners now attended by Shari Leinwand, who comes from California to visit each year.

At the present time, the Kolb fall colloquium and dinner bring as many Kolb fellows as possible back to the Penn campus and allow for an annual exchange of ideas in the form of papers delivered by the fellows at the colloquium as well as discussion in a less formal setting over dinner.

In recent years, guest speakers have been included in the fall colloquium, which features Kolb fellows and senior scholars. In 2013, the guest speaker at the fall colloquium was Cemal Pulak. He attended the annual dinner, and is pictured here.

Group at 2013 dinner

In 2014, the Kolb dinner was held at one of President Julian Siggers favorite restaurants.

Dinner 2014 Thumbnails
Kolb Dinner 2014

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Kolb Society

The Louis J. Kolb Society of Fellows

The Louis J. Kolb Society of Fellows originated in 1981. The society was founded through a bequest by Katherine Kolb Paanakker in honor of her father, Colonel Louis J. Kolb, who was a Philadelphian and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, class of 1887. The purpose of the Kolb Society is to provide fellowships and financial aid for graduate students at Penn in academic disciplines related to the mission of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Each year, several deserving Ph.D. candidates are elected to the rank of junior fellow in the Kolb Society by senior fellows, tenured faculty at Penn.

The Kolb Society of Fellows is comprised of junior fellows, fellows, senior fellows, and emeritus fellows. In addition, the Kolb Foundation is administered by a board of directors, which includes the Williams Director of the Penn Museum, who serves as president of the Kolb Society. Junior fellows are graduate students elected to the society based on scholastic achievement. These students receive fellowships to support their graduate study and complete their dissertations. Once the junior fellows complete the dissertation and graduate, they become lifelong fellows of the society. Senior fellows are Penn faculty members appointed to the society. Retired faculty and professors who relocate to other universities, as well as retired presidents, become emeritus fellows.

The research interests of the Kolb Society of Fellows are focused principally on ancient, pre-industrial cultures and modern, non-industrial peoples of the world. The Kolb Society supports students who are actively engaged with material culture and archaeological research. Both senior fellows and junior fellows are primarily drawn from the ranks of the Departments of Anthropology (Anth); History of Art (ArtH); Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) and East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC), formerly the consolidated Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES); as well as the Graduate Groups of Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World (AAMW) and Ancient History (AncH) at the University of Pennsylvania. The Kolb Society is interested in diversity and represents a wide range of disciplines, cultures, and time periods.

The primary directive of the Kolb Society is to promote and facilitate dissertation research for the elected graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania. Junior fellows are encouraged to travel, excavate, and to pursue archival research and gain museum experience; they are also provided opportunities to present papers and encouraged to publish research. Senior fellows act as advisors and mentors, and graduated fellows offer a network of support both within and outside of the University of Pennsylvania.

Although the junior and senior fellows are based at the University of Pennsylvania, the Kolb fellows are located across the United States and throughout the world in both academic and non-academic positions. In many instances, their commitment to the Kolb Society of Fellows remains strong and they return annually to the society and maintain contact and promote associations with other fellows.

Since 2006, the Kolb Society of Fellows has annually sponsored the Junior Fellows Spring Colloquium and the Senior Scholars Colloquium, which takes place in the fall. The spring colloquium provides an opportunity for graduating junior fellows to present their research to the community. Each year, the fall colloquium reunites fellows of all levels and allows them to share their work. It coincides with the annual business meeting of the Kolb Society directors and with the Kolb dinner, which offers a welcome and informal setting for conviviality, networking, and exchanging information. In 2011, a series of workshops sponsored by the Kolb Society was proposed to further engage the Penn community of fellows. Individually and as a collective, the Kolb Society maintains a high profile at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, where its members curate, pursue research, direct publications, coordinate lectures, workshops, and colloquia, and can be found at all levels of administration. In addition, Kolb senior fellows serve as directors of the Penn Center for Ancient Studies and the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, and often chair their respective departments.

The Kolb Society of Fellows celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010. The society looks forward to a future of community, commitment to graduate education and to post-graduate achievement. It will continue its beneficial communication across disciplines. It remains dedicated to the pursuit of archaeological and anthropological research and discovery at Penn and particularly at the Penn Museum, while it continues to expand and reach out to the world beyond the university.

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