How Ghanaian Patrick Awuh managed to transform just $50 in his pocket to $500,000 prize


The WISE Summit awarded the 2017 WISE Prize for Education Laureate, which is likened to Nobel Prize in education, to Dr Patrick Awuh, a Ghana-based educationist, on Wednesday in Doha at the inauguration of the globally-attended summit.

Awuah, founder and president of Ashesi University College, a private, not-for-profit institution that has become one of Ghana’s premier universities in little over a decade.

He quit a highly lucrative job with tech giant Microsoft in the United States, where he’d made millions working as a program manager to come back to Ghana and start the College.

The price he has now worn is worth $500,000(KSh 50,000,000).

The private, not-for-profit college was intended to help develop a new generation of leaders for Ghana and other African countries.

Patrick Awuah left Ghana in the 1980s with “$50 in his pocket” to take up a scholarship in the US.

After working and studying in the US, Awuah had decided to create a university in his own country to fill what he saw as a gap in institutions which had an “ethical mindset”.

Arriving back in GhanaPatrick Awuah quickly understood that fostering ethical leadership would be key to building a generation that is able to bring positive change in Africa. He decided to go back to study, this time to the University of California, Berkeley, to understand what it takes to start a university that would foster leadership and integrity.

Stavros N. Yiannouka, the CEO of WISE said:

“I am pleased to welcome Patrick Awuah as the sixth WISE Prize for Education Laureate. He joins a distinguished group of individuals who share a passion for empowerment through education.

Ashesi University College has a world class campus of 100 acres, overlooking Accra, with nearly 900 students.

“The WISE Prize Laureates have recognized needs that challenged them to action. Each has blazed a path in engaging and enrolling others in a vision. Patrick Awuahstory is unique in his awakening to the role of renewed ethical leadership in social transformation, particularly in Africa

“Ashesi University College, under his guidance, builds varied contemporary curricula on the pillars of liberal arts. He recognized that the tools for acquiring and interpreting knowledge are at least as important as the knowledge itself. In placing leadership at the core of his commitment, Patrick Awuah stands as a model for all of us who are dedicated to empowerment through education.”

In 2002, Ashesi University College (“beginning” in Akan) University College opened its doors in a rented house with a first class of 30 students.

Today, Ashesi University College has a world class campus of 100 acres, overlooking Accra, with nearly 900 students. Ashesi University College offers four-year bachelor degrees in engineering, business administration, computer science and management information systems.