Dr. Jon ’48 and Betty Kabara
Dr. Jon and Betty Kabara are the founders of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary's University.
A chemistry major at Saint Mary's, Dr. Kabara later earned an M.S. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Miami, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Kabara dedicated his life to medical research. He served as a professor at the University of Detroit and later Michigan State University for more than 30 years, and in 1969, he helped establish the first affiliated school of osteopathic medicine at a major university (Michigan State). An expert in the field of dietary fats and oils, Dr. Kabara and his innovative company, Med-Chem Labs, Inc., were awarded 16 U.S. and foreign patents. Dr. Kabara is credited with more than 200 publications, including eight books.
In 2005, Dr. Kabara and his wife, Betty, a member of the Saint Mary's Board of Trustees, began their commitment to support the growth of entrepreneurship at SMU. Through a transformational gift, they established the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.
A lifelong entrepreneur, Dr. Kabara had this advice for students: “Make ‘ethical business’ more than an oxymoron term. As leaders for the next generation, our country and world need your special talents and efforts to help form a truly peaceful global economy.”
Dr. Kabara, who died in 2011, also encouraged students to have a passion for what they do: “My final piece of advice is this secret: If you can dream it, you can make it happen. So dream big.”
In 1970, Saint Mary's honored Dr. Kabara with the Heffron Service Award; in 1998, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award; and in 2008, he received an honorary Doctorate of Ethical Leadership. In 2012 the university recognized Dr. Jon and Betty Kabara with its first Heritage Award for outstanding philanthropy.