Patrick Awuah, MBA 99, president and co-founder of Ashesi University in Ghana, was recently named one of the 100 most creative people in business in 2010 by Fast Company magazine.
Awuah ranked 87th on the Fast Company list, which was published in the magazine's June issue. Lady Gaga topped the list, which also included interface designer Yugo Nakamura, HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, and Safeway CEO Steve Burd.
Awuah, who was born in Ghana, left a lucrative career at Microsoft to enroll at the Haas School because he believed a business education would bring him closer toward realizing his dream of founding a university in his native country.
While at Haas, Awuah's idea for the university became a student project in the school's International Business Development Program. Classmate Nina Marini, MBA 99, worked on the project with Awuah and went on to change her career goals to join him in founding the university in 2002. She is now a member of Ashesi’s board of trustees.
Awuah's mission was to create a new kind of liberal arts university that focuses 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. The school currently enrolls 462 students.
"Only 5 percent of college-age students in Ghana are enrolled in college. It's a low number, and it needs to grow," Awuah told Fast Company.
"The people in college will be running the country one day," Awuah says. "We must teach them to be compassionate and ethical problem solvers."