Texas A&M: A Kharbat family tradition

Texas A&M University is buzzing with potential students visiting the campus this summer from near and far.

But few have traveled as far as Fayez T. Kharbat (center) and two of his sons, Yazan (right) and Abdurrahman (left). They’ve flown halfway around the world from Saudi Arabia to College Station and despite the distance, Aggieland is far from foreign; it’s more of a homecoming. You could even say it’s a family tradition. Eleven members of the Kharbat family have earned 13 degrees from Texas A&M since 1970: eight of those degrees in an engineering discipline and more than half with honors. Fayez T. Kharbat and his sons

Fayez Kharbat, an Engineering Consultant at Saudi Aramco and board director of the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association International, was the sixth in his family to graduate from Texas A&M with a degree in electrical engineering in 1990. His family lived in Kuwait and placed a high value on hard work and education.

“Why Texas A&M? Simply it’s the best education in the best environment,” Kharbat says. “It feels like home. My family, we weren’t from here. But it felt like we had come home.”

It began with Kharbat’s uncle, Dr. Adel “Ed” Kharbat, who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1970 and masters in physics in 1974. Later, his daughters would also earn degrees from Texas A&M: Paris Kharbat, a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1994; Rena Kharbat, a bachelor’s degree in international business in 2000 and Diana Kharbat, a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science in 2001. Both Paris and Diana went on to earn doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine.

Mowafaq Kharbat became the second in the Kharbat clan to graduate from Texas A&M in 1982 with a degree in civil engineering. Right behind him were Walid Kharbat and Abdelhakim Kharbat, who both earned bachelor’s degrees in 1983, in civil engineering and electrical engineering, respectively.

In 1988, Esam Kharbat earned a degree in mechanical engineering and after a few years in Kuwait, came back to Texas A&M to complete a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1992. His younger brothers followed with Fayez Kharbat earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1990 and Qasem Kharbat earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering in 1995 and went on to earn a master’s degree in software engineering from the University of Illinois.

Their sister, Ghada Kharbat, attended Esam’s graduation in 1988 and was introduced to a friend of her brothers, Namir Najjar. The pair eventually married and tallied four more degrees from Texas A&M between them: Ghada, a master’s degree in education and Namir, a bachelor’s degree in agronomy, master’s degree in soil science and Ph.D. in agricultural engineering.

The family members have moved on to successful careers around the globe in everything from the oil and gas industry to medical doctors. Dr. Ed Kharbat, the family member who first blazed a trail to Texas A&M for his many relatives who would follow, concluded a long career as engineering director for the City of Conroe, TX, with a street, Ed Kharbat Drive, named in his honor.

The recent visit to College Station by Fayez Kharbat and his sons went well, with both eager to attend college 8,000 miles from home and proud to become the next generation of Kharbat Aggies.

“The word impossible is not in our dictionary. The teachers were very supportive. Texas A&M is a prestigious university. If you work smart, hard and sincere, you will succeed. The sky is the limit.”