Fahad Alowaidah, SEAS ‘26, recently passed away in a plane crash in his home country of Saudi Arabia, according to an email sent to students by Deans Chang and Sorett.

This afternoon, Dean Sorett of Columbia College and Dean Chang of Columbia Engineering informed students that incoming student Fahad Alowaidah, SEAS ‘26, died in a plane crash. The full text of the email can be found below.

Fahad was originally from Saudi Arabia and was planning on joining the SEAS Class of 2026 in Fall 2022 and majoring in mechanical engineering. In high school, Fahad pursued his passions for music, STEM research, and aviation, and was in the process of training for his private pilot license. Fahad also co-founded HelplineSA at his high school, an initiative to provide support for students struggling with mental health issues. Fahad is survived by his parents and sister.

Dean Sorett and Dean Chang also invited students to share their message of condolence to Fahad’s family by sending an email to seascomms@columbia.edu.

Resources for students and Columbia’s Bereavement Guide can be found here and in the email below.

Email sent to students on Wednesday, August 24 at 5 pm EST:

Dear Students, 

I write to inform you of some very sad news for our community. Our incoming Class of 2026 student Fahad Alowaidah recently died in a plane crash in his home country of Saudi Arabia. We are extremely saddened by this loss and extend our condolences to his family and friends.

Fahad was an exceptionally bright and caring young man who was eagerly looking forward to starting at Columbia Engineering this fall to study mechanical engineering. He loved flying and was in training for his private pilot license. Fahad was also a music lover, who started a music club at his high school, and participated in STEM research projects and student life organizations. While in high school, he also co-founded HelplineSA, an initiative to support students who were dealing with stress and mental health issues. He is survived by his parents and a sister. 

Columbia is and will continue to be in contact with Fahad’s family and students connected to Fahad to provide support and resources. If you wish, you may also contribute a personal message of condolence to Fahad’s family at this email address: seascomms@columbia.edu. If you find yourself in need of support, please do not hesitate to seek out campus counseling and psychological services, pastoral counseling through the Office of Religious Life, or speak with your adviser


Shih-Fu Chang

Dean of Columbia Engineering 

Cc: Josef Sorett

Dean of Columbia College

Vice President for Undergraduate Education

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