James J. Karam '71 '01 (Hon.)
President & CEO, First Bristol Corporation / Former Chair, Board of Trustees
Chancellor's Distinguished Service Medal
James J. Karam '71 '01 (Hon.) is President and founder of First Bristol Corporation which has developed retail shopping centers, multi-family housing, and office buildings throughout southern New England since 1975. He also co-owns WSAR and WHTB radio stations.
Karam was appointed to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees in January 2002 and appointed as Chair of the Board in August 2004. After stepping down in 2006, he was reappointed chair in 2011, and stepped down at the end of 2012. Over the course of his service, he served a member of the Committee on Administration and Finance, the Development Committee, the Trustee Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee, as well as Vice Chair of the Committee on Administration, Finance and Audit, the Committee on Athletics and the Investment Sub-Committee for the University of Massachusetts Foundation, and as co-chair of the Athletic Task Force.
Karam is renowned for his community leadership, including on the Southcoast Development Partnership and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Southcoast CEO Group, Trustee of St. Anne's Hospital, and Co-Chair of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Marine Science and Technology at UMASS Dartmouth.
In addition to recognition by his peers, he is also the recipient of the numerous awards including: Citizens for Citizens' "Hubert Humphrey Award," The Fall River United Way's "Lantern Society," the Fall River Chamber of Commerce "Outstanding Citizen" award, the University of Massachusetts "Entrepreneur of the Year Award" and the David Knapp Award for Outstanding Trusteeship this past March.
A native of Fall River, Karam and his wife, Janis, reside with their four children in Tiverton, Rhode Island. He graduated from Southeastern Massachusetts University in 1971 with a bachelor's in business, and received an honorary Doctor of Business from UMass Dartmouth in 2001.