Saint Martin’s names international peace-builder and educator Rev. Headley as Commencement speaker for May 8

April 22, 2010

Lacey, Washington — Reverend William R. Headley, CSSp, Ph.D., founding dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, will be the commencement speaker at Saint Martin’s University on Saturday, May 8, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hal and Inge Marcus Pavilion. Fr. Headley will also receive an honorary degree in humane letters from the University.

“It is our privilege to bestow an honorary degree upon Rev. William Headley,” says University president Roy Heynderickx. ““Fr. Headley has led a lifetime of pursuing issues and topics surrounding peace and justice, both in his education and in actual work experience.”

Internationally recognized as a respected peace-builder, practitioner, and educator, Fr. Headley 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 and a deep sense of vocation, he has dedicated many years of his life for advancing nonviolence, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.

Headley 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 the community’s first International Justice and Peace Office in Rome, Italy, where he was director for five years.

In 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 2000. 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). In 2007, he was appointed founding dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego.

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.

Says Heynderickx. “Fr. Headley’s work with Catholic Relief Services in Washington, D.C., his work at other institutions of higher education, and now as founding Dean of the School of Peace Studies, exemplify his role in focusing the world on resolving international conflict and promoting the concept of peace as human development.”

Saint Martin’s will confer 341 bachelor’s degrees and 80 master’s degrees at its May 8th ceremony.

For more information on this event visit the Saint Martin’s University Commencement website at

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College, and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Genevieve Canceko Chan
Director of communications & marketing
Saint Martin’s University