College mourns death of Basel Osman

Jamie Holt / The Flat Hat

Tuesday June 1, Basel Osman ’22, a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, passed away. Osman, originally from Woodbridge, Va., was taking a leave of absence from courses during the 2020-2021 academic year, but was intending on returning to the College this fall to complete a degree in psychology. On campus, Osman was a well-known presence and friend to many and off campus and was also the founder of a Richmond-based business, Hadidi Labs. 

Many of Osman’s friends, including Holly Caboti-Jones ’22, remember Osman for his energetic, positive and outgoing personality. 

“Basel was a force of nature to be reckoned with- super bright, super positive, and super motivated,” Caboti-Jones said in a written statement. “That kid never stopped and was always creating a new company or working on a new idea to help those in need. That was his whole plan- finding creative ways to help people so they wouldn’t have to go through the difficulties he did.”

One of Osman’s former housemates, Bryan Contreras-Alvarez ’20, recounted how just a few weeks before his death, Osman was planning on giving back to disadvantaged students at the College.  

“He said he wanted to anonymously purchase a lot of parking passes and raffle them out to kids who couldn’t afford it,” Conteras-Alavarez said. “I don’t know if he ended up doing it, but that was something he was recently talking about. He wanted to give back because he knew he was getting some income, and he really cared about underprivileged people. Being at such an affluent school, there’s always going to be kids who are not as privileged as others. He always wanted to bring attention to them and help them out.”

Osman had a strong passion for helping others, whether it be tutoring someone for a class or helping support the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of 2020.  

“During the Black Lives Matter protest, he would go into Richmond knowing he would be at risk with water bottles, with supplies to help people who got tear gassed,” Caboti-Jones wrote. “He was like the first aid person there, and he ended up getting jailed for the night because of it. He was so brave about it, and he literally tried to help people until the minute he was in handcuffs. Even then, he was able to smuggle his Apple Watch into the bus and was recording everything in case people were treated badly by the police.”

Osman’s friends also remember him for his outgoing nature, eccentric personality and selflessness.  

“Basel was kind of like the Mr. Worldwide kind of character,” Osman’s former roommate Riley McMenamin ’20 said.  “He was in William and Mary where we have all these different groups, like wealthy people and disadvantaged people. He could hang with people from every individual population at William & Mary. You could put him in any social setting and he would gravitate to anyone and everyone. There was no rhyme or reason to it, but he would talk to anybody.”

Osman’s brother Bashshar Osman, spoke of his brother’s personality and uniqueness.

 “He has always been a very eccentric person,” Bashshar Osman said. “The clothes he wears, the cars he drives. Even on his Costco card, he was wearing a sombrero.”

Another of Osman’s friends, Sofia Altamirano ’21, described Osman as a very caring individual who was always looking out for others. 

“Basel was just always the type of person to be there for you, no matter what,” Altamirano said. “If he is busy writing an essay or studying, and you call him and need him, he will drop everything no matter what. He’s always just looking around, and if he doesn’t see a smile on a face he will look up to that person and see what he can do for them.”

Despite taking a year off, Osman was planning on returning to campus to make a greater impact on the College. 

“When Basel was planning to come back, he was planning on going into the Student Assembly,” Caboti-Jones said. “He had plans to continue bettering the community at William & Mary. And even though he’s not here anymore, he still lives on through the people here because of his positive influence. He has permanently impacted so many people at William & Mary.”

A celebration of life was held for Osman on Sunday, June 6, 2021, and he is survived by his parents, Moustafa Osman and Eiman Hassan, and his younger brother Bashshar Osman. 


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