May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

Presidential message

Dear Faculty and Staff,

With gratitude for more than 25 years of service, I am announcing today that renowned Creighton photographer the Rev. Don Doll, SJ, is retiring from his role as the Charles and Mary Heider Endowed Jesuit Faculty Chair, and the Rev. Roy Pereira, SJ, who is currently serving as the Anna and Donald Waite Endowed Chair in Jesuit Education this spring, will be the new Heider Chair effective July 1.

An in-person, on-campus reception is being planned for this fall to recognize Fr. Doll and his long and distinguished service to the chair, in which he brought recognition and distinction to Creighton through his award-winning photography.

Other celebrations are also being considered, including a possible campus photo exhibit showcasing his more than 50 years as a photographer.

Fr. Doll’s photographic-spiritual journey includes chronicling the lives of Native American peoples, from Alaska to South Dakota, and traveling the world to depict the global works of the Jesuits.

Most recently, he served as the official photographer as Jesuit Superior General the Most Rev. Arturo Sosa, SJ, celebrated the 50th Jubilee of the Jesuit mission in northeast India’s Kohima region in early March.

Joining the Creighton faculty in 1969, a year after he was ordained, Fr. Doll’s photos have appeared in National Geographic and eight Day in the Life of … books. His work documenting Native American life on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota became a nationally touring photo exhibit and an award-winning book, Crying for a Vision. Other books to his credit include Vision Quest and A Call to Vision.

His photos of landmine and tsunami victims, as well as child soldiers, have highlighted the important work of the Jesuit Refugee Service, and he has served as an official photographer at Jesuit General Congregations in Rome.

Fr. Doll has been inducted into the Omaha Press Club’s Hall of Fame, has been awarded the National Press Photographers Association’s Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for lifetime achievement, and has received the Photographic Society of America’s top award, the International Understanding Through Photography Award, among many other honors.

He was named the inaugural Charles and Mary Heider Endowed Jesuit Faculty Chair in 1994. The chair was established by the late Creighton alumnus, businessman, Board member, and philanthropist Charles F. Heider, BSC’49, in honor of his wife, Mary Claire McBride Heider. The chair honors an outstanding current or prospective Jesuit faculty member.

I am excited that Fr. Pereira has accepted the role as the next Heider chairholder, and am confident he will continue the legacy of excellence set by Fr. Doll. Fr. Pereira came to Creighton in January as the Anna and Donald Waite Endowed Chair in Jesuit Education. The Waite Chair sponsors visiting Jesuits, who pursue writing, research, and teaching from a variety of disciplines.

As the Heider Chair, Fr. Pereira will join the School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Humanities, while also contributing his experience and expertise in international and study abroad programming with the Global Engagement Office (GEO).

He will teach current courses offered to medical students, while developing programming related to his own field of neuroscience and its intersection with life habits, such as motivation, stress, addiction, well-being, spirituality, empathy, and more.

Fr. Pereira was previously the head of the Department of Chemistry and provost/vice principal at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India, where he taught chemistry and neuroscience and was involved in international programming, first as the director of international programs and then as provost. He also taught a graduate-level Philosophy of Neuroscience course at the Papal Athenaeum (JDV) in Pune, India. He holds master’s degrees in chemistry, biblical theology, and philosophy, and earned his PhD from Boston College, exploring the integration of science and philosophy.

His current research focuses on the effect of emotions on health and healing, particularly in relationship to the current COVID-19 pandemic. He also has studied the effects of cell phones, internet usage, and social media on the brain. Fr. Pereira has given lectures, presentations, workshops, and talks at universities and in public forums around the world. In January 2019, he organized an international conference titled “From Health to Well-Being: An Interdisciplinary Approach from Fundamental Sciences to Translational Medicine.” An accomplished pianist, Fr. Pereira often brings music into his presentations and homilies.

Again, I welcome Fr. Pereira to his new role as Heider Chair, and I thank Fr. Doll for his outstanding years of service. I will share more information about recognition ceremonies for the fall as details become available.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD