It’s not unusual for a son or daughter to wind up at a parent’s alma mater. Or for a couple of siblings to attend the same college. What is notable about one family, however, is the fact that six out of eight offspring have attended the College – from the Middle East, no less. Three are alumni, and Steve, the youngest in the Alsarraf family, is a freshman.

The family journey to Charleston has been interesting, to say the least.

The Alsarraf parents emigrated from Iraq to England, where the oldest children were born. The patriarch of the family eventually set up his ophthalmology practice in Oman, where Steve was born and spent half his life.

Along the way, the Alsarrafs had heard that Charleston was a great place to visit. During the summer of 1997, they paid the city a visit. And then and there, they discovered the College. Haider and Oday visited campus and said, “We should come here.”

Haider Alsarraf ’00 was first. Oday ’02 and Hussam ’05 followed. Eventually their two sisters also started at the College before finishing at other schools. And then came Steve. However, Steve didn’t only consider the College. He explored other options, but in the end, this is where he felt most comfortable.

Much of the appeal for Steve comes from the people. “They are kind and welcoming,” he says. And the College, like the city of Charleston, feels easier going than other places he visited. Now that he’s here, Steve has quickly added to his “favorite things about CofC” list.

1. The faculty: “Small classes make it easier to develop good relationships with your professors.”

2. The Addlestone Library: He likes the mixed-use atmosphere. “You can be social on the first floor. The second and third floors are quieter, so it feels like a place where you want to spend time.”

3. The George Street Fitness Center: “My workouts are good alternatives to pick-up soccer games, and I have figured out a schedule that works
for me.”

For the other Alsarraf siblings, part of the allure of the College was the people and atmosphere, as well. And, since graduation they have been able to add “excellent preparation for a career” to their list of favorite things about CofC.

Featured image of Steve Alsarraf by Heather Moran