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James J. Karam re-elected as UMass Board chairman

AMHERST, August 23, 2006 -- With colleagues praising his "strong leadership and outstanding record of accomplishment," James J. Karam today was unanimously re-elected to the chairmanship of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.

Karam and other officers were elected as the UMass Board of Trustees met in Amherst. Under the Board's bylaws, officers are required to be elected annually at the Board's August meeting.

"Jim Karam has helped to usher in a new period of growth and success at the University of Massachusetts, working closely with his Board colleagues, with President Jack M. Wilson and with the Chancellors and their teams," said Trustee William F. Kennedy, chairman of the Board's Governance Committee. The committee recommended a panel of officers to the full Board.

"Many positive things are happening on the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts, and Jim Karam's astute leadership stands behind this surge of progress," Trustee Kennedy added.

Karam, a graduate of UMass-Dartmouth who was first elected Board Chairman in 2004, said he was "proud and honored" to be elected to another term.

"I owe a debt of gratitude to my colleagues, who have now elected to me to my third term as chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. It is a great honor to lead my alma mater's Board of Trustees and to lead a Board that is comprised of such distinguished, accomplished, public-spirited citizens. This is the finest citizen-volunteer Board I have ever been associated with, and it is a Board that makes an enormous contribution to the success of our five-campus University System."

Also elected to Board leadership positions were Karl E. White, as vice chairman; Dennis G. Austin, chairman of the committee on academic and student affairs; William T. O'Shea, chairman of the committee on administration and finance; Robert B. McCarthy, chairman of the audit committee; Ruben King-Shaw Jr., chairman of the development committee; Matthew E. Carlin, chairman of the athletics committee; William F. Kennedy, chairman of the governance committee; John A. DiBiaggio, chairman of compensation committee, and Barbara F. DeVico, secretary to the Board of Trustees. UMass Board officers serve one-year terms.

UMass President Jack M. Wilson lauded the Board's action.

"James Karam is a wise and dedicated leader," President Wilson said. "Jim Karam truly loves the University of Massachusetts and possesses a single-minded determination to make the University the educational, research and public service leader that the Commonwealth needs in order to keep its future bright," President Wilson said.

Trustee Robert K. Sheridan said Karam has provided "strong leadership" and pointed to the "outstanding record of accomplishment" Karam has assembled during his two years as Chairman.

Trustee William T. O'Shea described Karam as "an active, dedicated, involved colleague and leader." O'Shea added: "Jim Karam is one of the University's great assets."

Trustee Janet D. Pearl said: "Chairman Jim Karam embodies the spirit of the University of Massachusetts. A UMass alumnus himself, Chairman Karam appreciates the circumstances of UMass students and diligently works to advance the University of Massachusetts. Jim Karam is an astute facilitator, leading the UMass Board of Trustees with the right mix of enthusiasm, sensitivity and critical thinking."

With Chairman Karam serving as the leader of the 22-member Board of Trustees, the five-campus University of Massachusetts System was named one of the world's 50 best universities by the Times of London and has made demonstrable progress in a number of key areas.

State funding has grown from $357 million in Fiscal Year 2004 to $443 million in the current fiscal year, one of the largest funding increases to be enjoyed by any public university in the United States. Research funding has grown from $323 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $476 million in Fiscal Year 2005, making UMass the third largest research institution in Massachusetts, and the University's intellectual property revenue rose from $19.8 million in Fiscal Year 2003 to $28.7 million in Fiscal Year 2005, ranking UMass #1 in the state.

In addition, Chairman Karam:

  • Co-led a University delegation to South Africa in February 2006 and participated in the presentation of honorary degrees to former South African President Nelson Mandela and to Mandela's wife, Graca Machel.

  • Played a key role in the October 2005 opening of the University of Massachusetts Club in Boston's financial district, and was instrumental in obtaining 30 life members who contributed $10,000 each to help fund the startup of the Club.

  • Created ad hoc trustee committees on Science and Technology, Campus Safety, and Student Diversity, and collaborated on the creation of committees that oversee Endowment Investment and Cash Funds Investment, and a committee that is developing an Integrated Marketing Strategy for the University.

James Karam is President and founder of First Bristol Corporation, a development and management firm. Karam is also co-owner of WSAR and WHTB radio stations, serving the Massachusetts' Southcoast region.

Karam was appointed to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees in January 2002 and has served on numerous Board committees including Administration and Finance, Development and Investments.

Karam's professional and civic affiliations are many, including service as co-chair of the Southcoast Development Partnership, co-chair of the Southcoast CEO Group, member of the Board of Governors for Caritas Christi Health System, Trustee of St. Anne's Hospital, and as co-chair of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Marine Science and Technology at UMass-Dartmouth.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-548-0238
William H. Wright, 617-287-7065


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