Ashesi University Founder Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, to Receive Leading Through Innovation Award, to Speak at Haas

The Haas School will present its 2012 Leading Through Innovation Award to Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, founder of Ashesi University in Ghana, at its annual gala on Friday, Nov. 9.

Before the gala, Awuah will speak to the Haas community at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, in the Wells Fargo Room. The event is co-sponsored by the Dean's Speaker Series and the school's International Business Development Program. Details on how to register for Awuah's talk will be available on the Dean's Speaker Series website as the date approaches.

Awuah will be recognized by Haas for his bold, innovative leadership in the founding of Ashesi University, a private liberal arts university that is educating future ethical, entrepreneurial leaders who possess the courage to transform Africa. Ashesi is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

The annual Leading Through Innovation Award was established to celebrate Haas alumni who embody the school’s emphasis on innovative leadership and serve as exemplars to others in the Berkeley-Haas community.

After growing up in Ghana, Awuah left home in 1985 with $50 in his pocket and a full scholarship to Swarthmore College. He then rose through the ranks of Microsoft to become a program manager. The birth of Awuah's first child inspired him to turn his focus back to Africa and think about how he could make a difference there.

After concluding education would be the best way to create change, Awuah enrolled at Berkeley-Haas and turned his idea for a university in Ghana into a project in the school's International Business Development (IBD) Program. Awuah's project so captivated classmate Nina Marini, MBA 99, a member of the same IBD team, that she jumped on board and went on to change her career goals to join Awuah in founding the university in 2002. Marini is currently a member of Ashesi’s board of trustees.

Awuah's mission was to create a new kind of liberal arts university focused on quality, ethics, and personal empowerment to be the spark of a revitalized Africa and a catalyst for new enterprises, new solutions, and a model for other universities in Africa. Since its founding, the university has built a 100-acre hillside campus and graduated 350 students. 

Awuah continues to work with the Haas School's IBD Program, hiring students as consultants to work on various projects with Ashesi. And he continues to ambitiously push Ashesi ahead: A new 10-year plan has set goals that include recruiting more students from Africa beyond Ghana; expanding academic program to include engineering and applied sciences, management and economics, and law and society; and planning for succession. 

To attend the 11th Annual Haas Gala, RSVP by Oct. 26 at the Gala website.