Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

James Karman P’01

The Karman Family Student/Faculty Research Laboratory 

With 35 years in real estate investment, James Karman P’01 was a logical choice when President Ronald A. Crutcher was looking for a trustee resource to help with the planning and construction of the Mars Center for Science and Technology. Former CEO of Spaulding and Slye, a commercial real estate and investment management firm, Karman helped the college in the selection of the general contractor, offering advice and sitting in on meetings at every stage.

“The driving force for me was to get the facility built on time, within budget, and to have it fit well within the campus,” says Karman, a trustee since 2001 and father of Jennifer “Jen” Karman Kanyok ’01. “The building is more than just a science building. This is where the magic happens, where students and professors collaborate.” Karman believes the center will benefit the entire campus. “It’s no accident that it houses the campus café, and there are also plenty of study nooks throughout the building.”

Karman, who lives in Sudbury, Mass., visited the campus frequently throughout the construction process. But he is quick to point out that he was not alone. “I don’t want to take all the credit. I provided some experience and oversight. John Sullivan [director of business services at Wheaton] and Kevin Roffi [Wheaton project manager] were the heroes. They carried the ball,” he says.

In addition to giving his time and expertise, Karman contributed philanthropically to the project. The Karman Family research lab was named to commemorate his many contributions to the new science center.

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About Mary Howard

Mary Howard ’85 is a freelance writer and editor who lives in southeastern Connecticut.