“It is our privilege to bestow an honorary degree upon Rev. William Headley. Fr. Bill has led a lifetime of pursuing issues and topics surrounding peace and justice, both in his education and in actual work experience. His work with Catholic Relief Services in Washington D.C. and his work at other institutions of higher education, and now as founding Dean of the School of Peace Studies at University of San Diego, exemplify his role in focusing the world on resolving international conflict and promoting the concept of peace as human development. Having personally known Fr. Bill, he is a gifted speaker and I am certain our graduates and community will enjoy his humor, wit, and wisdom.”

~Dr. Roy F. Heynderickx SMU President

Honored guest

Reverend William R. Headley, CSSp, Ph.D.
Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
University of San Diego

William HeadleyInternationally recognized as a respected peace-builder, practitioner, and educator, Reverend William R. Headley, CSSp, Ph.D. has a vast career that spans over thirty years and over eighty countries. He has served as a lecturer, trainer, consultant, and participant in numerous conferences and symposia throughout North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. With a great passion, a deep sense of vocation, and unwavering faithfulness, he has dedicated many years of his life for advancing nonviolence, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

Headley has a broad background in Church leadership, justice, peace, and international aid. He was the Major Superior (1979-85) of the USA-Eastern Province of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) community. While Provincial of the Spiritans, he served on the Executive Committee, Conference of Major Superiors of Men; was the first president of the Africa Faith and Justice Network/USA; and was instrumental in starting the Washington office on Haiti. In 1986, he conducted a study of Nairobi, Kenya’s refugees for Jesuit Refugee Services.

Called to Generalate administration for the Spiritans in 1987, Headley started his community’s first International Justice and Peace Office in Rome, Italy. He was director for five years. Haunted by intra-state conflict witnessed in Africa, Headley used a sabbatical to research grassroots efforts at peacemaking in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, South Africa and Haiti.

In July 1993, Headley established a graduate program in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He was named deputy executive director of policy and strategic issues of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in March 2000. As part of the executive team, he helped to guide CRS’ relief, development, and justice/ peace programs. Early in 2003, he was appointed counselor to the CRS president with major responsibility for the agency’s peace work. He had the privilege of playing a facilitating role in establishing the Catholic Peacebuilding Network when it was formed in 2004. As a peace builder, he has assisted conferences of bishops in Ghana, Nigeria, the Balkans, Sudan, Haiti, Burundi, and Myanmar (Burma).

Headley holds a doctorate in sociology from New York University, as well as advanced degrees in counseling and theology. He has done postdoctoral work at Harvard Divinity School, George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and the Gandhi Peace Institute in New Delhi. In 2009, he received an Honorary Doctorate in Ministry from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, the largest Roman Catholic graduate school of theology and ministry in the United States.

In 2007, he was appointed founding dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, the only school in North America dedicated to advancing the field of peace studies and a world-view of peace as human development.