Fall River businessman Steve Karam is chairman of the board of UMass
FALL RIVER — A Fall River native with deep family ties to local public higher education has been named chairman of the University of Massachusetts board of trustees.
“My family has a long-standing connection to the UMass system in the SouthCoast region,” said Stephen Karam. “Beyond civic duty, it’s also personal.”
Governor Charlie Baker named Karam, a member of the university system’s board of trustees since 2017, as president last month. He succeeded Robert Manning, who this year completed the two terms granted to the directors of UMass.
Karam’s father, Robert Karam, and uncle, James Karam, both also served as chairmen of the five-campus UMass System Board of Trustees. Robert played a key role in integrating what was then known as Southeastern Massachusetts University into the system as UMass Dartmouth, while James helped establish the campus-based UMass Law School. of Dartmouth.
Karam grew up in Fall River and went through the city’s public school system through high school, just like his parents and children. He served on the Board of Bristol Community College from 1996 to 2007.
“We are huge supporters of higher education,” he said.
“So much more independent”:These Somerset Berkley students are running their own business
Now he works as a manager at Karam Financial Group, a Fall River company his father founded.
Karam said the university system will face the challenge of fewer people wanting to attend university over the next four or five years, part of a projected national trend that many schools will have to adapt to. . Additionally, they face the constant challenge of keeping the public college system as affordable as possible.
But overall the system is in a strong position, he said. UMass college enrollment is up even as national college enrollment is down. UMass has improved its finances in recent years and has become increasingly competitive schools that are now all nationally ranked, he said.
“UMass, even going through COVID, has never been stronger,” Karam said. “We have succeeded in making our five campuses true enrollment destinations for students.
Suicide at New Bedford Prison:Was Adam Howe’s Jail Observation Adequate? Critics say the suicide could have been avoided
Audrey Cooney can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.