ACU to Confer Degrees, Honors

Wendy Kilmer
ACU Director of Communications and Media Relations

ACU will award 833 degrees in three commencement ceremonies taking place at Moody Coliseum Friday and Saturday.

The Friday, May 12, ceremony at 7 p.m. will award 261 master’s and 43 doctoral degrees. On Saturday, May 13, 529 bachelor’s degrees will be presented in two ceremonies – 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Undergraduate degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Biblical Studies will participate in the 10 a.m ceremony, and undergraduate degree candidates from the College of Business Administration, College of Education and Human Services, College of Graduate and Professional Studies, and School of Nursing will participate in the 2 p.m. ceremony. All three ceremonies will be livestreamed at for more information.  

In both Saturday ceremonies, Dr. Tony Roach Sr. will be awarded the Dale and Rita Brown Outlive Your Life Award. The Outlive Your Life Award is named for its first recipients, Dale and Rita Brown, and inspired by the 2010 book by Max Lucado (’77), Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference. The award recognizes all types of servant leadership exhibited by friends or alumni of the university.

Roach, who was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree from ACU, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a bachelor’s degree in social science from Hiram College before earning his Master of Science degree in biblical text from ACU in 1979. He completed his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1992 as part of the third graduating class of ACU’s first doctoral program.

He and his wife, Candyce, planted the Minda Street Church of Christ in Abilene in 1979, and Roach has been an influential voice in ACU’s racial reconciliation work in churches for more than five decades. He retired as evangelist of Minda Street in 2016 and now works to expand the reach of his God’s Love Bank program, which is used around the world. He also continues to serve as minister emeritus at Minda Street.

Roach is the author of seven large books, a 12-volume small-book series and a five-volume annual church curriculum. He and Candyce live in Irving, Texas, and have four grown children and 11 grandchildren.

In addition, at the 2 p.m. Saturday ceremony, David D. Halbert will receive 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. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.