News: Press Releases

May 31, 2017

James Karam Scholarships awarded to eight area UMass students

Contact: Kate Wilkinson, 617-287-7199,


BOSTON— Eight area University of Massachusetts students have been awarded scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 each for up to four years by the James J. Karam Scholarship Fund.

The fund is named for local businessman James Karam, who served nearly 10 years on the UMass Board of Trustees — including four years as chairman — and championed the causes of quality and student affordability during his tenure on the board.

Established in 2013, the endowed funds supported by Jim and Janis Karam provide scholarships to students who are enrolled full-time at any UMass campus, hold a high GPA, demonstrate financial need and are permanent residents of SouthCoast communities or Tiverton, R.I.  

“This is an exemplary group of talented young scholars,” Karam said. “I have no doubt that they are poised to be tomorrow’s outstanding leaders, and my family is privileged to be able to support their success.”

This year’s scholarship winners, who were honored at a dinner in Westport on Tuesday evening, are:

  • Mia Arruda, Fall River – A sophomore majoring in bioengineering at UMass Dartmouth, Mia is a graduate of B.M.C. Durfee High School.
  • Sara Chedid, Dartmouth – A junior majoring in chemistry at UMass Amherst, Sara is a graduate of Dartmouth High School.
  • Peter DaCosta, New Bedford – A second-year medical student at UMass Medical School in Worcester, Peter is a graduate of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and the medical laboratory science program at UMass Dartmouth.
  • Holly Giard, New Bedford – A rising senior at UMass Amherst majoring in natural resource conservation with a secondary major in plant, soil and insect sciences, Holly is a graduate of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.
  • Kaleigh Patton, Fall River – A sophomore majoring in psychology at UMass Lowell, Kaleigh is a graduate of Somerset Berkley Regional High School.
  • Allyson Ramos, Tiverton – An incoming freshman at UMass Dartmouth who intends to major in environmental engineering, Allyson is a 2017 graduate of Tiverton High School.
  • Samantha Rollings, Tiverton – A senior majoring in mechanical engineering at UMass Dartmouth, Samantha is a graduate of Tiverton High School.
  • Austin Taylor, New Bedford – A senior majoring in bioengineering at UMass Dartmouth, Austin is a graduate of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.  

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan praised Karam’s commitment to access and opportunity at UMass. “With these annual awards, Jim increases access to a transformative UMass education for some of the SouthCoast’s most talented and deserving students. We continue to be honored by the Karam family’s tireless commitment to UMass students.”

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. During his tenure on the UMass Board of Trustees, he played a leading role in overseeing the university’s multi-billion-dollar, system-wide building program. He also advocated for the establishment of the UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, the state’s only public law school.

A native of Fall River, Karam and his wife, Janis, reside in Tiverton. 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.