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Pet Sins November 2006

Patrick Awuah - millionaire ex-Microsoftie founds high tech university in native Ghana

Patrick Awuah left Ghana to attend Swarthmore College in the US on a full scholarship, going on to work for Microsoft after graduation. After 9 years with the company, the Microsoft millionaire left to realize his dream of building the first liberal arts college in Ghana. With the founding of Ashesi University, Awuah aims to bring the broad-based liberal arts education he himself has benefited from to students in Africa. Ashesi, a private high tech university, offers an alternative to Ghana's overcrowded, underfinanced public universities. Through their donations, Awuah's former Microsoft colleagues have supported his dream of creating a world class Ghanaian university to train the next generation of African leaders with a focus on enterpreneurship and integrity. Ashesi's student body extends beyond Ghanaians to nationals of other African nations.

G. Pascal Zachary writes in A Program for Africa's Computer People:

The very existence of a Patrick Awuah comes as a shock to theorists of underdevelopment and the digital divide. Africa is not supposed to supply code writers to Microsoft, and it certainly is not expected to get them back older, wiser, and more idealistic. Yet Awuah is literally trying to bring the spirit of Silicon Valley to Accra. Awuah is a quiet revolutionary, bent on creating a cadre of successful technology business leaders who are public-spirited and committed to lifting Africa by its bootstraps into the age of cyberspace.

For more on Patrick Awuah's work, see:

Global returns - building a university, and hope, in Ghana (npr.org, December, 2005)

Patrick Awuah left Microsoft to found Ashesi University (Puget Sound Business Journal, September 10, 2004)

Patrick Awuah's commencement address at alma mater Swarthmore College