Kolb received a B.A. from Fordham University in 1963 and an M.A. in 1965. He later received a M.Phil. from Yale University in 1970 and a Ph. D. in 1972. Kolb's Dissertation was titled "Conceptual Pluralism and Rationality." Most of Kolb's writing deals with "what it means to live with historical connections and traditions at a time when we can no longer be totally defined by that history." Professor Kolb taught at the University of Chicago before moving to Bates in 1977 and teaching there until 2005, when he took emeritus status.