A ‘Swarthmore’ Grows in Ghana

This essay chronicles the motivations behind the start of a Ashesi University by Patrick Awuah in Ghana. Following his education in engineering and economics at Swarthmore College and his fortune from stocks in Microsoft, Patrick Awuah quit his job as a  Program Manager at Microsoft to start a college back home similar to his alma mater in his home country. After only two years of operation, the small private college was already earning praise from academics abroad, as well as from education officials in Ghana. In a country where public universities are plagued by overcrowding and lack of resources, Ashesi is one of the few colleges with well-paid faculty members, uncrowded classrooms, and efficient classroom technology. In a report, the national university-accreditation board called it “one of Ghana’s best new universities” and urged others to follow its example. Mr. Awuah, who is president of the university, says his goal is simple: to develop an academically strong institution that will train a new generation of ethical, business-savvy leaders in Africa. “We need Africa entrepreneurs and business leaders who can emulate Southeast Asian economic tigers,” he says.


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