Karim, Ramsey, and Nadim Homsany—first-generation Americans who lived abroad as children before settling in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers School of Engineering in the 1990s, and went on to stellar careers—have not forgotten their love for their alma mater.
The Homsany family station wagons covered many miles in the 1980s. “My dad was insistent on taking us on road trips every summer to various parts of the nation to go learn about the United States,” says Ramsey Homsany.
Ramsey ENG’97 made the trips with his older brother, Karim ENG’94, GSB’95; younger brother, Nadim ENG’99; their father, Rachid, an engineer and a native of Egypt; and their mother, Ghada, a native of Lebanon; and another family.
“Even though we lived overseas at the time, we would come back to the states every summer and spend about a month here,” Ramsey says. “My dad was super passionate about the United States and wanted to show us everything—the Grand Canyon, Texas, and more. We saw a lot of the country.”
The brothers are recounting the fond childhood memories at an early morning friends and family reunion tailgate prior to a Rutgers football game in October 2022. “One year we did all of the East Coast,” says Karim, who has been a Rutgers football and basketball season ticket holder for more than 25 years. “And then another year we drove south from Texas, down into Florida. Another year we drove from Texas all the way up the California coast to San Francisco.” He pauses, and then laughs about how they crammed in for the long rides. “It would be illegal nowadays because there were about 12 of us in a single station wagon.”
Their closeness in the back of the station wagon carried over to their attendance at Rutgers. The peripatetic family, which had once moved to Athens, Greece, to escape war in Beirut, Lebanon, settled in Sparta, New Jersey in 1986. Their parents had immigrated to the U.S. and became American citizens before their sons were born—Karim in Brooklyn in 1972, Ramsey in Beirut in 1975, and Nadim in Athens in 1977.
In 1990, Karim finished high school in Sparta and was the first of the three brothers to enroll at the Rutgers School of Engineering. “My dad gracefully told me that I could go to any school in the country we wanted as long as it was Rutgers,” Karim says, adding that he also was strongly encouraged to study engineering. “He is a big believer in leveraging the state school, and, obviously, Rutgers is a great school.”
Ramsey joined Karim at the School of Engineering three years later, and in 1995, Nadim enrolled. Karim, who graduated with a civil engineering degree in 1994, went on to earn an MBA in international business from the Rutgers Business School—Newark and New Brunswick in 1995. Ramsey graduated in 1997 with a degree in biochemical engineering and went on for his law degree at New York University. Nadim earned a degree in computer and electrical engineering in 1999 and then a law degree from Harvard University.
They’ve gone on from their educations to do great things: Nadim and Ramsey live in San Francisco, where Nadim is cofounder and CEO of EarnUP, a financial wellness company, and Ramsey is cofounder and president of Octant, a biotechnology company that uses novel mechanisms to develop drugs to fight diseases. (Previously, Ramsey was general counsel for Dropbox and earlier a vice president and deputy general counsel at Google.) Karim, who lives in Flanders, New Jersey, is managing director for Accenture, a global professional services company, where he has worked for 26 years.
Returning to Rutgers to get together for football games and other campus events and activities—including Ramsey’s giving the address at the School of Engineering convocation in 2022—is something they continue because of their fond feelings for the university. “From day one, I fell in love with this place,” says Karim, decked out in a Rutgers football jersey.
His sentiment is one his younger brothers echo. The fondness for Rutgers extends to their parents, who have attended many of the family tailgate parties. “Our mom led the cooking at the tailgate for the first 15 years or so,” Nadim says.
When his younger brothers followed him to Rutgers, Karim made sure he helped them get a good start. “The one thing I do remember doing was having the talk with you guys about getting off on the right foot as a freshman,” he says. “I felt like that was my big brother thing that I did.”
Nadim vividly remembers Ramsey advising him as well. “It was in the middle of the first semester and we were just talking and he looked me in the eye and said, ‘Bleed for your grades,’” Nadim says, which is a line Ramsey says he doesn’t recall.
Karim says although none of the brothers work in engineering in the traditional sense of “building bridges and laying out roads,” their engineering degrees taught them how to “tackle problems. I feel like it set me up for life.”
The diversity they found at Rutgers also made them feel welcome, hearkening back to their childhoods overseas. “I loved that from the get-go,” Ramsey says. “It is one of the reasons I love this place.”
Throughout their lives, there has been no competition between the brothers—only support. They once all shared the same bedroom, were all members of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, which Karim helped to found on campus, and they were the best men at each other’s weddings. “There's no sibling rivalry,” Nadim says. “Each of us benefited from the other.”
To this day, they frequently communicate, including a scheduled weekly discussion between Ramsey and Nadim they do to avoid talking about business when they are spending family time together. “Any time any of the three of us make big decisions, we're always talking to each other and bouncing ideas off each other,” Ramsey said.
They also have parallel families: Each has one son and one daughter, and their familial bond extends down through the next generation. “There is a closeness and a caring for each other that I’m very proud of,” Karim says.