Ashesi University

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Ashesi University
Location, ,
05°45′35″N 00°13′11″W / 5.75972°N 0.21972°W / 5.75972; -0.21972
CampusSuburban area

Ashesi's Archer Cornfield Courtyard

Ashesi University is a private college located in Ghana, West Africa.

The mission of Ashesi University is to educate ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa.

In 2017, Ashesi was awarded the World Innovation Summit in Education Prize,[citation needed] one of the world’s biggest prizes in education, for its impact on higher education in Africa. In 2018, Ashesi was also awarded a Charter by the President of Ghana, granting it full independence as a nationally recognised degree-granting institution. It was the youngest university to have been granted a Presidential Charter in Ghana’s history, a rare accomplishment.

Ashesi offers a four-year bachelors programme grounded in a multidisciplinary core curriculum, featuring majors in Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. With an academic program designed in collaboration with some of the world's best universities and organisations, Ashesi continues to shape an educational experience like no other in Africa.


  • Association of American Colleges and Universities
  • Council of Independent Universities
  • Association of African Universities


Ashesi was founded by Patrick Awuah, a Ghanaian who 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 first hand 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 in business school at the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business, both to evaluate the feasibility of his goal and to gain managerial skills with which to found and manage a university.

  • 1997: Founder Patrick Awuah gives up his US software career to return to Africa. He decides to create a new kind of African university.[1]
  • 1998: Patrick Awuah and graduate students from UC Berkeley conduct a feasibility study for a new private university in Ghana.
  • 1999: Ashesi University Foundation was founded and is spearheaded by a Board of Trustees and management governance whose efforts are complemented by Advisory Boards located in the US and Ghana.
  • 2002: Ashesi University opens its doors in a rented house converted to classrooms, with a class of 30 students.
  • 2005: Of the pioneer class graduates, 95% chose to stay to Africa.
  • 2006: Ashesi students elect first woman university student government president in Ghana’s history.
  • 2007: A UC Berkeley study finds that local and multinational employers rate Ashesi and Ashesi Graduates number 1 in Ghana in Quality of Curriculum, Career Preparation, Communication Skills, Maturity, Professional Skills, and Ethics.
  • 2008: Students vote to adopt Examination Honour Code - Africa’s first. Financial sustainability: fees from students who can afford to pay cover annual operating expenses. Capital Campaign for new campus begins
  • 2009: Construction starts for permanent campus in Berekuso.
  • 2011: New campus completed—on schedule and on budget ($6.4M). Enrollment tops 500 as Vice-President of Ghana inaugurates campus.
  • 2012: The MasterCard Foundation partners to provide $13 million in Ashesi scholarships to students from 11 African countries.
  • 2013: Groundbreaking for construction to start on engineering building where Ashesi will educate engineers who will design infrastructure and products for Africa.
  • 2015: The first engineering class enrolls at Ashesi University on 7 September 2015.
  • 2018: Ashesi receives Presidential Charter, and becomes a fully independent private university; it will no longer have to be affiliated to University of Cape Coast, or the University of Mines and Technology.

The Meaning of Ashesi[edit]

The Todd & Ruth Warren Library at Ashesi
The Todd & Ruth Warren Library at Ashesi

"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 Fante, a native Ghanaian language.[2]

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 goal of gathering data to provide a 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,[3] analysing Ghanaian tertiary education.

Ashesi campus[edit]

Set on 100 acres in Berekuso, overlooking Ghana's capital city of Accra, Ashesi’s campus unites traditional Ghanaian design, modern technology and environmental best practices. The campus has interconnected courtyards, that emphasize a sense of community. The architecture borrows from the Ghanaian vernacular, with echoes of traditional compound houses, as well as elements of traditional Northern dwellings. The natural contours of the site are used in concert with buildings to create exterior gathering spaces throughout campus, as well as ramps that provide wheel chair access to buildings. Buildings are designed to maximize natural views, light and ventilation.

Ground water is supplemented with harvested rainwater, filtered and treated to provide potable water all year round. A community-scale sewage and organic treatment plant provides environmental and economic benefits by converting waste to biogas for some of the campus’ cooking needs and recycling treated water for landscaping.

Global Recognition[edit]

On Wednesday 3 May 2018, President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo awarded Ashesi University a Presidential Charter meaning the University will now award degrees to its graduated in its name.[4] Ashesi, until this year was affiliated to the University of Cape Coast(UCC), Ghana meaning its graduates were awarded a UCC degree.

In 2012, the university was ranked by PwC as the seventh most respected organisation in Ghana, becoming the first university to make the list. Ashesi's President, Dr. Patrick Awuah, was also ranked the 4th Most Respected CEO in Ghana.[5] In 2015, again named Ashesi among its list of top 10 African Universities (excluding South Africa).[6]

It has also been ranked as one of Ghana's 50 Best Places to work (2015), according to a survey by Ghanaian consulting firm Goodman AMC; it was again, the only university on the list.[7]

In 2013, CNN shared the story of Ashesi and its founder on its African Voices programme. In the interview, Ashesi's President said: "If you come back in 30 years, universities will be competing for the best and brightest students. I hope that universities will also be competing on things such as whose students are the most ethical. If that happens, it will change the continent."[8]

In 2015, Ashesi's President was ranked by Fortune (magazine) as one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders, together with the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates, Pope Francis and founder of, Jeff Bezos. The list according to Forbes, was made up of men and women who "in an era that feels starved for leadership, will inspire you—some famous, others little known, all of them energizing their followers and making the world better." [9]

In 2017, Ashesi was awarded the World Innovation Summit in Education Prize, one of the world’s biggest prizes in education, for its impact on higher education in Africa. In 2018, Ashesi was also awarded a Charter by the President of Ghana, granting it full independence as a nationally recognised degree-granting institution. It was the youngest university to have been granted a Presidential Charter in Ghana’s history, a rare accomplishment.

Key Projects Ashesi runs

  1. Ashesi Innovation Experience(AIX): This is a two-weeks program designed by Ashesi Faculty for high school students between the ages of 15 and 19. It exposes students to Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Robotics, Creativity and Engineering basics to help prepare them for transitioning into college.[10]
  2. The Education Collaborative: This is a week long program which was first held in June 2017. It is an Ashesi initiative that brings together higher education leaders and stakeholders to collaborate in harnessing best practices in teaching, management and administration.[10]
  3. The Next Generation Cocoa Youth Program(MASO): MASO is a five year program designed to create employment for Ghana's youth in cocoa growing communities. Ashesi runs this project in collaboration with Solidaridad, Aflatoun, Fidelity Bank, Opportunity International and the Ghana Cocoa Board.[10]
  4. Ghana Climate Innovation Center(GCIC)

See also


  1. ^ Wesler, Ellen (25 October 2015). "A Winner of MacArthur Award Brought Liberal-Arts Education to Ghana". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  2. ^ History: Meaning of Ashesi Archived 17 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine..
  3. ^ Early years feasibility study Archived 6 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine..
  4. ^ Ibrahim, Abubakar (3 May 2018). "Akufo-Addo grants Ashesi University Presidential Charter". Myjoyonline. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  5. ^ UT Bank, Rlg bosses outshine rivals –at Ghana’s Most Respected CEO awards. October 2012.
  6. ^ The Top 10 Universities in Africa (ex South Africa) – 2015 Edition. February 2015.
  7. ^ Top 50 Best Places to Work in Ghana. March 2015.
  8. ^ Millionaire who quit Microsoft to educate Africa's future leaders. May 2013.
  9. ^ The World's 50 Greatest Leaders: 2015. March 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "". Retrieved 2018-06-22.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 05°45′35″N 00°13′11″W / 5.75972°N 0.21972°W / 5.75972; -0.21972