Former News Anchor Commits $1 Million to Harrington School

Former WPRI Eyewitness News anchor Karen L. Adams H’10 has made a $1 million commitment toward her endowment to support female students at URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media.

The Karen L. Adams Scholarship in Communications, established in 2016, benefits junior or senior female students from Rhode Island who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Harrington School Director and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Adam Roth notes that Adams’s gift is “both an inspiring gesture of generosity and a resounding validation of our shared commitment to educate a new generation of women leaders who will work across a range of media platforms in their respective communication careers.”

Adams, a Narragansett resident who hails from Missouri, is a familiar face to many Rhode Islanders: she served as the evening anchor for WPRI’s newscasts from 1989 until her retirement in 2010, winning numerous awards and accolades along the way, including an Emmy Award for Individual Achievement in Anchoring and an induction into the Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, an achievement that recognized her distinguished career in the broadcast news industry.

Adams’ ties to her adopted home state run deep, grounded by her strong sense of community. “It is important for me to give to URI rather than another institution,” she explains, “because Rhode Island is where I spent the bulk of my career, and I feel compelled to give back to the flagship university.”

In 2010, Adams received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from URI in recognition of her commitment to public service. Among her numerous additional honors are the John Chafee Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Way, Unsung Hero of Meeting Street School, Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, the Karen Adams Room at the Women’s Center of Crossroads Rhode Island, the Philanthropic Citizen of the Decade from AIDS Care Ocean State, Honorary Lifetime Big Sister from the Big Sisters Organization, a Special Olympics award, and a Community Service award from the National Philanthropic Association.

Before coming to Rhode Island, Adams worked as an anchor and news director at WPCQ, the NBC affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her bachelor’s degree at Missouri State University, where she majored in speech and theatre, and minored in journalism.

Established in 2008, the Harrington School comprises programs in digital media, communication studies, film production, multimedia journalism, library and information studies, public relations, sports media, and writing and rhetoric. It is one of America’s leading schools of communication and media, dedicated to preparing students for a rapidly evolving and increasingly globalized communication ecosystem.