Two brothers honored and memorialized with new computer lab
By Marisa Larson
The spring of 2012 brought the Alkhatib family more sadness than one family should have to bear — they lost their two sons and brothers, Weesam and Shwan. To honor the lives and memories of Weesam and Shwan, the Alkhatibs created the Alkhatib Brothers Computer Labs for the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering.
“We thought of how to help as many K-State students as we could, and that is when the idea for the computer lab was decided on,” said Aveen Alkhatib, Weesam and Shwan’s sister. “Weesam had graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, Shwan had taken some courses in the department (his degree is in electrical engineering), and I had also finished with a degree in chemical engineering. I remember spending endless hours in that computer lab, and we thought that renovating that room was a perfect way to give back to the university while still remembering Shwan and Weesam. This way, all of the students going through the program would benefit, not just a selected few.”
Shwan and Weesam both loved K-State’s sense of family and friendliness and were especially passionate about K-State sports. Even after graduating and while busy with medical school and residency in Kansas City, Weesam would come to Manhattan to attend the games with his siblings. “These games were more than just a football game to me,” Aveen said. “They helped me bond with my brothers in a way most siblings will never experience. I cherish these memories and am so thankful to K-State for this. Those Saturday games were pure bliss.”
To many K-State supporters and Big XII fans, Shwan was known as “fatty” or “fatty4ksu” from his extensive online message board postings and YouTube videos. He was widely known for his wit and love of K-State. “The amount of love and support we have gotten over the past year or so from his blogging friends is overwhelming,” Aveen said. “They helped us heal and made us realize that we were not alone.”
Weesam, a vascular surgeon and instructor at Stanford University School of Medicine, battled a rare form of cancer. Shwan put his master’s degree studies at K-State on hold to go care for his brother because that’s what family did — take care of each other. Shwan passed away unexpectedly during this time and just a few weeks later, Weesam succumbed to his cancer. Weesam was 34 and Shwan was 25.
“We want every student to remember who Shwan and Weesam were as people,” Aveen said. “They were both incredibly loyal to their family, friends and kind to all they met. When students are in this computer lab, we want everyone to work together and help each other in any way possible. Be kind to each other, help when you can, learn that your grades are not everything. Your character and integrity mean much more than a test grade. Try your best, but do not dwell on the little things. Enjoy the times with your friends and remember that the time will pass but the memories you have will stay forever. Make them count.”
Weesam and Shwan are survived by their parents Kassim and Sorkel, and their sisters Aveen and Cheen.
If you would like to contribute to the Alkhatib Brothers Computer Lab fund in honor and memory of Weesam and Shwan, you can make a gift online here.