Ashesi University

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Ashesi University College
Seal of the Ashesi University
Motto Scholarship Leadership Citizenship
Established 2002
Type Private
President Patrick Awuah, Jr.
Administrative staff
Around 100
Undergraduates Around 550
Location Berekuso, Accra, Ghana
Campus Rural area
Current Degree Programs Business Administration and Computer Science and Management information systems
Satin sheen gold, Black and White

Ashesi University is a private, secular, liberal arts college in Berekuso, a town near Aburi, an hour's drive from Ghana's capital, Accra. The university opened in March 2002, founded by Patrick Awuah, Jr., a graduate of Swarthmore College and Haas School of Business. Ashesi's mission is to train a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial business leaders in Africa and to nurture excellence in scholarship, leadership and citizenship. Ashesi, which means "beginning" in the Akan language is a new beginning for higher education in Ghana. The university is accredited by the Ghanaian National Accreditation Board (NAB),[1] and features a four-year bachelors program grounded in a liberal arts core curriculum, offering degrees in Business Administration, Management Information Systems and Computer Science. With an academic program designed in collaboration with 24 professors from Swarthmore College, University of California, Berkeley and University of Washington, Ashesi offers an educational experience unlike anything else available in Africa today.


Ashesi was founded by G. Patrick Awuah, Jr., a Ghanaian who had spent over 15 years living and working in the United States. Awuah left Ghana in 1985 to attend Swarthmore College on a full scholarship, after which he worked for Microsoft Corporation as an engineer and a program manager for eight years. Experiencing firsthand the dramatic impact that education can have on one's life, Awuah embarked on a mission in 1997 to provide greater educational opportunities in Ghana. He enrolled at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, both to evaluate the feasibility of his goal and to gain a broader range of managerial skills with which to found and manage a university.

In 2009, Awuah won the John P. McNulty Prize for founding Ashesi University.[2] The McNulty Prize is a $100,000 grant that recognises the most outstanding, innovative, replicable and self-sustainable projects to address social problems. The prize is open to all Fellows of the Aspen Institute.


"If there is anything you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."

These words by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are the inspiration behind the university's name, Ashesi, which means "beginning" in Akan, a native Ghanaian language.[3] Ashesi's founder, Patrick Awuah, first read Goethe's words when he was questioning the wisdom of undertaking such an ambitious project. Encouraged by these words, he began by undertaking a feasibility study. Clarifying the risks and issues at hand helped Awuah shed his reservations; one day he realised that he had lost his hesitation and had become very committed to this project. He then realised, "This really is the beginning!" The name Ashesi is not only about its founder's inspiration. It is also about providing a new beginning for every student attends.

Feasibility study[edit]

During the summer of 1998, a team of four MBA students from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business travelled to Ghana to conduct extensive market research and evaluate the feasibility of establishing a new university. With the explicit goal of gathering statistically significant data to provide a strong foundation for business decisions, the team administered over 3,300 surveys to students and parents; conducted interviews and focus groups with parents, teachers and business leaders; and gathered secondary information from local and international sources. The result was a comprehensive feasibility study,[4] analysing the Ghanaian tertiary education landscape by addressing both the demand and supply sides of the question of feasibility.

Warren Library inside

Expansion plans and future campus[edit]

In the fall of 2009, Ashesi University broke ground on the construction of its new campus in Berekuso, outside Accra. The first phase includes a complete library, three computer labs, administrative and faculty offices, two classroom buildings and dormitories. A global community of donors, primarily from the US and Africa, had contributed $3.3 million by 2009 for the campus construction.[5]

Berekuso Campus[edit]

On 27 August 2011 Ashesi inaugurated its new permanent campus in Berekuso.[6] Based on traditional architecture, the campus overlooks Accra and has a series of courtyards interconnected with a beautiful landscape of trees, benches and stairs that create a natural and peaceful environment for learning, community building and recreation. The campus’ dormitories have been designed to equally support this environment and will allow Ashesi to house more than half of its student population on campus.

Ashesi's campus features state-of-the-art education technology and environmentally conscious designs that will help the university attract top students, faculty and administrators, and will strengthen Ashesi's commitment to fostering a community whose culture inspires a new generation of ethical entrepreneurial leaders in Africa.

The current campus marks the completion of phase one of Ashesi's three-phase campus plan. Started early in 2010, the campus project was funded by $3.9 million in philanthropy and $2.5 million in debt financing provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private project arm of the World Bank.

Radichel Hall View Ashesi university

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ashesi University re-accredited for five years. August 2011.
  2. ^ "Patrick Awuah – McNulty prize winner". 2009 McNulty Prize Winner – Patrick Awuah. 
  3. ^ History: Meaning of Ashesi.
  4. ^ Early years feasibility study.
  5. ^ Ashesi breaks ground on new campus. August 2009.
  6. ^ Ashesi celebrates historic milestone with inauguration of its new campus. August 2011.

External links[edit]


Information quoted from Ashesi University website and other Ashesi University materials was used with permission of the University.