Celebrating the Legacy of Professor Stephen Adei at Ashesi

March 18, 2019
Pleasant chorals graced the Norton-Motulsky Hall as staff and faculty members of the Ashesi community and other guests filed in for the celebration of Stephen Adei’s title of Emeritus Professor.

Having served as a Professor, and Dean of Business, Humanities, and Social Sciences since 2015, Professor Stephen Adei retired from Ashesi this year. However, Professor Adei’s relationship with the university spans some 20 years, ever since he met a younger Patrick Awuah, Founder of Ashesi University, to share feedback on leading a university in Ghana. At the time, Ashesi was still taking form, and Professor Stephen Adei and Patrick forged a mentor-mentee relationship.

In addition to being conferred an Emeritus at Ashesi, a new Research Studio was named after Professor Adei. The Professor Stephen Adei Studio for Research Excellence, located in the university’s Research Building, will be a space with tools and resources for faculty to collaborate on research, have dedicated space for thinking, and engage in learning.



“As a thirty-something-year-old planning to start a university here, very few people took me seriously,” Patrick shared, speaking at the ceremony. “He was the only head of an academic institution in this country who did not try to discourage me. He was always gracious with his advice, and I learned a lot from him just by watching and listening. Over the years, he has been a very prolific writer and thought leader and a mentor to some members of faculty which has been very helpful to us. And I cannot think of any better place for our faculty to go and think and discuss with each other than in a room that is named after such a person. It is great for us to honor him in this way.”

As a highlight of the ceremony, Professor Adei delivered a public lecture on “The Functional Education That Ghana Needs”, reflecting on decades of leadership experience in Ghana’s education sector and proposing a path for strengthening education outcomes in the country.

“What do I mean by Functional Development Education?,” Professor Adei read. “It is the type of education that enables the learner to develop their potential; to be fully engaged not only in the world of today but also be adaptive enough to confront the brave new world of tomorrow; because the knowledge, skills, and attitude they acquire equip them to be lifelong learners. […] The constraints of literacy and numeracy will now have to be engaged in more student-centered learning and encouraged to ask the whys, hows and why not’s. However, it will require political leadership and commitment to engendering the paradigm shift needed to arrive at the functional education Ghana needs. The need for deep reforms is so urgent, all sides of Ghana’s political divide must join the battle.”


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