Dear Class of 2019,
It is a real honor to be here with you, celebrating ten years since our graduation as Ashesi students, even as you begin your first year as Ashesi alumni.
The beginning is what Ashesi means in Fante, and that is exactly what it meant to the class of 2009 when we first joined this community, for varying reasons. We operated in 3 nondescript buildings in Labone – nothing like what Ashesi is today – yet it was still one of the best educational experiences for all of us.
Ashesi’s message of providing a new beginning – of educating a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa – remains as intriguing today, as it was then, for those of us coming from a system where too little emphasis was placed on real learning, and more on just passing exams.
As the 5th graduating class of Ashesi, not for a single day have we regretted being a part of this community. At 90 students, we were at the time the largest class the University had ever admitted, and Patrick will tell you, we made sure we left quite the mark, by design or coincidence. Our class started many of the traditions you share as students here today. We were not perfect, however, having the official honor of being the first class to have to rewrite our exams, and with even more regret, also being the only class in Ashesi’s history not to have officially signed up to the honor code.
But that’s a story for another day.
Today we represent the impact of an Ashesi education on our individual lives, the lives of our families, and the places where we live and work. Members of this class now lead in various teams and organizations here in Ghana and beyond. My classmates play significant roles across multiple industries – from media to technology to education, from organizations like Vodafone and KPMG to self-owned businesses like LOL GH and Micky’s.
More importantly, we express gratitude to the University that molded us, and inspired us to live above the status quo; no matter how long it took us to learn and embrace this. Over the next few months of this year, we look forward to collectively celebrating our decennial with Ashesi, and strengthening our give-back efforts to our university and our college students.
To you, Class of 2019, treasure all that Ashesi has taught you, as she taught us. Undoubtedly your experiences here would not have been the same as ours, but we are confident that the values of this place remain the same. Make your time spent here count.
People remain amazed that we write exams here in the absence of invigilators; demonstrate to them that our commitment to doing the right thing lives beyond exams. They get surprised at our knowledge and attention to detail; demonstrate to them that it can be done. They get amazed at our willingness to embrace the unknown, try the untried, and face challenges head-on; demonstrate to them that we share a spirit of adventure and possibility. Never mind that you will be called too-known. Never mind that expectations will be higher for you than others. Be inspired and driven by it. Do not let Ashesi or yourselves down. Ashesi made it possible for every one of us to dream. We are still living out our dreams. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that others behind us get to live their dreams too.
And considering that we hold the lead, as far as we know, in the number of Ashesi marriages I encourage you also to take a chance and “shoot your shot”! It’s now or never.
Thank you for having us speak to you.
Congratulations, Class of 2019, and all the best!
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