James J. Karam, a prominent business and civic leader and former chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, has donated an additional $50,000 to a scholarship fund that he created to support future leaders from the SouthCoast.
The James J. Karam Scholarship Fund, with an endowment that now exceeds $600,000, provides students of need with $5,000 annual awards, which are renewable up to four years. The competitive scholarships are available to students who are enrolled full-time at any UMass campus, hold a high GPA, demonstrate financial need and are permanent residents of the SouthCoast or Tiverton, RI. Established in 2013 to support high-achieving students across the five-campus UMass system, the scholarship program is currently benefitting six students. Karam’s latest contribution was made in connection with the inauguration of UMass President Marty Meehan.
"Jim Karam continues to provide the kind of leadership to UMass that was the hallmark of his service on the Board of Trustees and displays the commitment to the SouthCoast that has marked his entire life," said Meehan. "On behalf of the University community, I want to thank Jim and his wife, Janis, for supporting UMass and for making a critical difference in the lives of students who will go on to shape our society and economy."
“Our family is delighted to be able to invest in the SouthCoast and the young people who will shape its future,” said Karam. “The students who become scholarship recipients have already demonstrated the inclination and ability to become leaders, both locally and globally, and we are hopeful that this support helps them reach the next level.”
Karam is president and founder of First Bristol Corporation, which has developed retail shopping centers, hotels and office buildings throughout southern New England since 1975. A native of Fall River, Karam and his wife, Janis, reside in Tiverton, R.I. He graduated from UMass Dartmouth in 1971 with a bachelor's in business, and received an honorary Doctor of Business from UMass Dartmouth in 2001.
Karam served nearly 10 years on the UMass Board of Trustees, including four years as the Board’s Chairman. During his tenure on the Board, Karam championed the causes of quality, student affordability and played a leading role in overseeing the University’s multi-billion-dollar, system-wide building program. He also strongly advocated for the establishment of the UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, the state’s only public law school.
About the UMass Foundation
The UMass Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1950 to foster and promote the growth, progress and general welfare of the University of Massachusetts, recently ranked as the No. 1 public university in New England in the World University Rankings. The Foundation provides a depository for charitable contributions to UMass, manages the University’s endowment, promotes private support of public highereducation, and supports the fundraising efforts of the five UMass campuses – UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School.