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James J. Karam Scholarship recipients with Jim Karam (Left to Right: Samantha Rollings, Courtney Jenkins, Rachel Moussa, James Karam, Jona Kona, Rachel Luciano, Nathan Johanning)
August 12, 2015

SouthCoast recipients announced for James J. Karam Scholarship Fund

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  • Dartmouth
Scholarships support top SouthCoast students across UMass system.

Six high-achieving UMass students have been selected as this year’s recipients of awards from the James J. Karam Scholarship Fund. The fund honors SouthCoast business and civic leader and former University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Chairman James J. Karam and provides students with $5,000 awards renewable up to four years. To be considered for the scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time or be an incoming freshmen at one of the UMass campuses, hold a high GPA and be permanent residents of the SouthCoast of Massachusetts or Tiverton, RI. The scholarship was established last year to support high-achieving students across UMass system.

“I would like to thank Jim and Janis Karam, who continue to be tremendous advocates for the University of Massachusetts for creating this scholarship,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “On behalf of the entire UMass system we are grateful for their generosity toward these students and the Karam family’s unyielding desire to help support the future leaders of southern New England. Jim and Janis are providing the gift of opportunity to students who will go on to have a major impact on the SouthCoast and the world.”

“These accomplished students have demonstrated a strong sense of self-motivation and achieved success both inside and outside the classroom,” Jim Karam said. “It brings great joy to Janis and me to be able to assist these students who are already making their mark so early in their young lives.”

The following students received awards for the 2015-2016 Academic Year:

Courtney Jenkins, New Bedford, Massachusetts, UMass Lowell

‌Courtney enjoyed and recently completed an outstanding freshman year at UMass Lowell. She is studying Exercise Physiology and achieved a 3.89 GPA.  She works hard to balance school and employment. She is from Acushnet and attended New Bedford High School. During high school she worked at McDonald’s. This is the second year she has received the James J. Karam Scholarship.

Nathan Johanning, Tiverton, Rhode Island, UMass Dartmouth

Nate recently graduated from Tiverton High School with a 3.71 GPA. He is enrolled at UMass Dartmouth and plans to study Mechanical Engineering.  He was a caddy at Newport Country Club and played on the Tiverton High School boys’ varsity lacrosse team. The team won the division championship. Nate is a first-time recipient of the James J. Karam Scholarship.

Jona Koka, New Bedford, Massachusetts, UMass Dartmouth

Jona is a senior at UMass Dartmouth.  She is studying Chemistry and Economics and has a 3.91 GPA.  She serves as Secretary to the Executive Committee for the campus Enactus chapter. She attended New Bedford High School.  She and her family are immigrants from Albania. This is the second year that Jona has received the James J. Karam Scholarship.

Rachel Luciano, Fall River, Massachusetts, UMass Dartmouth

Rachel is majoring in Psychology at UMass Dartmouth and maintains a 3.8 GPA. She expects to graduate in 2017. She graduated from Diman Regional Vocational High School. She has a twin sister and an epileptic/autistic brother. They were raised by their mom who also has epilepsy.  Rachel mentioned in her essay that she feels blessed and appreciates all that her mother did for her. This is the second year that Rachel has received the James J. Karam scholarship.

Rachel Moussa, New Bedford, Massachusetts, UMass Amherst

Rachel is enrolled at UMass Amherst as an English major. She recently graduated from Bishop Stang High School with a 3.67 GPA. She ran track for Bishop Stang and was very involved in extra-curricular activities. Her family is Lebanese and she grew up in New Bedford.  Her family traveled regularly to Lebanon during her childhood. This will be the first year she has received the James J. Karam Scholarship.

Samantha Rollings, Tiverton, Rhode Island, UMass Dartmouth

Samantha is a sophomore at UMass Dartmouth.  She is studying Mechanical Engineering and has a 3.98 GPA.  She is a graduate of Tiverton High School and was the class salutatorian.  She was captain of the girls’ varsity tennis team and played on the basketball team. She learned her appreciation and value for life as she struggled with the passing of a dear friend from Leukemia at 12 years old.  This is the second year Samantha has received the James J. Karam Scholarship.

James J. 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. He also co-owns WSAR and WHTB radio stations. A native of Fall River, Karam and his wife, Janis, reside with their four children 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 two stints as the Board’s Chairman. During his tenure on the Board, Karam championed the causes of quality and 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 UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, the Commonwealth’s only public law school.

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