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ACU awards honorary doctorate to David D. Halbert

As part of Commencement exercises Saturday, May 13, Abilene Christian University presented David D. Halbert with an honorary doctorate.

Halbert is the chairman, founder and CEO of Caris Life Sciences, a pioneering precision medicine company that helps patients receive better quality care through access to individualized medicine. With more than 40 years of experience, and a strong track record of growth and value creation in the energy, financial and healthcare industries, Halbert continues to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the United States.

A 1978 graduate of ACU, Halbert is the grandson of Dean Walling (‘30), a visionary founding director of ACU’s National Development Council during the Design for Development campaigns that built Moody Coliseum, McGlothlin Campus Center, Brown Library, Don H. Morris Center and Walling Lecture Hall, among other iconic buildings on campus. Halbert and his wife, Kathy (Gay ‘78), live in Colleyville, and their three children are all alumni of ACU. Over the years, the Halberts have provided for several endowed scholarships and funds to help build the Hunter Welcome Center. As part of ACU’s Vision in Action campaign in 2014, the Halberts gave $15 million through the Caris Foundation, making possible the Halbert-Walling Research Center, a 54,000-square-foot building for science labs, classrooms and offices, as well as $3 million toward Wildcat Stadium, providing for the Chuck Sitton Tower that houses suites, club level spaces and the press box.

Halbert and his family also created and solely support the Caris Foundation, a non-profit, private foundation that aids impoverished people by helping to provide for their basic needs. Established in 2002, and headquartered in Colleyville, Texas, the Caris Foundation seeks to establish a local presence within communities in order to understand the people’s basic needs and implement solutions that are culturally relevant and sustainable across Africa and Haiti. The foundation employs more than 400 people.

As part of the ceremony, Halbert was hooded by his colleague, Dr. David Spetzler. Spetzler joined Caris Life Sciences in August 2009 and has led their research and development and laboratory operations in a multitude of roles. As president, he currently leads the company’s clinical operations, research and development, information technology, bioinformatics and biopharma services.

— Wendy Kilmer

May 17, 2023

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