Patrick Awuah, co-founder and president of Ashesi University in Ghana, got his professional start as a Microsoft program manager in the early 90’s. He left Microsoft to return home to Ghana and start Ashesi University to educate a new generation of ethical leaders and innovative thinkers with the skills and courage they needed to transform their continent.
It was current and former Microsoft employees who saw the potential of Ashesi and invested their time and money to build this new kind of university from the ground up. And when the campus opened its doors in 2002, the impact of the Microsoft culture could be seen in every classroom. Our deepest thanks go to the Microsoft employees and alumni who have given so much of their time and resources to create a university whose audacious goal is to spark a renaissance in Africa.
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10 ways Microsoft has made its mark on Ashesi
- Visionary leadership: At every Ashesi board meeting Microsoft employees and alumni have played a key role. Their leadership has guided Ashesi from one man’s dream to a thriving university of over 600 students.
- Financial support: 105 Microsoft employees and alumni have contributed over $7 million to launch the university in 2002 and build our new world-class campus, inaugurated in 2011.
- Inspiration: Patrick was floored by the intellectual rigor and debate in the offices at Microsoft. He was deeply impacted by the corporate norm of smart people working together to tackle hard problems. Those Microsoft norms can now be seen in every Ashesi classroom.
- Can-do attitude: Another Microsoft norm that impacted the Ashesi culture was the Microsoft can-do attitude. Throughout the Ashesi curriculum, students are expected to identify local problems and to create innovative solutions to solve them. The can-do attitude is expected of every student and they deliver.
- Curriculum advising: We received critical support on our Computer Science Curriculum Advisory Board from Microsoft alumni.
- Strategic advice and counsel: Beyond trustees, Microsoft donors have played a crucial role as advisors — asking the hard questions at every stage of Ashesi’s development.
- Honoring Ashesi’s accomplishments: The Microsoft Alumni Foundation awarded Patrick Awuah the 2009 Integral Fellows Award.
- Connecting us to the Microsoft global network: The MSAF also helped Ashesi connect with the tremendous network of Microsoft alumni around the world doing incredible work.
- Corporate support: Microsoft’s matching gifts have totaled more than $400,000.
- Thinking big: Patrick saw Microsoft win via game-changing, long-term strategies. To tackle Africa’s culture of corruption and apathy, he developed a similar leveraged approach–educating ethical, innovative leaders to create change.
Publications & Media Coverage:
- 2013 Community Report: We highlight our best moments of 2013, celebrate the progress we have made, and share our ambitions for the coming year. Read Patrick Awuah’s letter to the community, profiles on students and graduates doing some incredible work, an update on Ashesi’s engineering program and more.
- Path to a New Africa: Path to a New Africa essay published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2012. Illustration by Scott Roberts.
- Ashesi Course Catalog: Ashesi’s major innovation is our curriculum, which is based on best practices from some of the top universities in the world but is designed to address needs in the African context. Our curriculum places a great emphasis on applied learning, ethics and entrepreneurship.
- Ashesi on CNN: CNN African Voices visits Ashesi, and shares the story of Founder and President Patrick Awuah, the University, and Ashesi’s vision for Africa.
- Patrick Awuah TED talk: Patrick Awuah makes the case that a liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders.
- Read profiles of Ashesi supporters with roots at Microsoft: Trustees- Ruth & Todd Warren, Volunteer- Kevin Phaup, Donor & Advocate- Joe Dadzie
- Patrick Awuah receives Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellow Award, 2009. Read more.