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The groundbreaking at Berkuso

August 30, 2009

On August 29th, we broke ground for our new campus in Berkuso.   It was a terrific event, well attended, full of joy and appreciation for the change Ashesi has made to date in Africa and the anticipation of what it can do in the future.   We had great attendance, and for Ghana it was a cool, breezy day.  The campus is sited beautifully on the top of a hill that overlooks Accra, the ocean, and the surrounding hills.  A road has now been cut up the road, and bulldozers and crews have been working hard the last several days to prepare the site for the event.

Breaking Ground for Ashesi

The ceremony opened with the village Chief’s arrival and a ceremonial greeting between the visitors and invited dignitaries.   We had on hand, in addition to the Berkuso chief and his entourage, the minister of education, the local MP, the local director of the international finance corporation, and the US ambassador to Ghana.   The Chief started things off.  He went through the history of the land acquisition, and indicated the community had turned down other offers because they felt a college would have a more positive impact on the community.   The MP even indicated he was looking forward to coming to guest lecture on the new campus in the future.   Kyle Kelhofer, of the IFC, gave a terrific talk about the impact of liberal arts colleges.  He even drew analogy to his own experience going to a liberal arts college on a hill (in his case Dartmouth).   Yaw Asare-Aboagy, who also serves with me on the board of trustees, discussed the various people who helped to support the school to this point.  Patrick talked about how Ashesi got to this point—from idea to business plan to classes in rented buildings to impactful graduates.  He talked about his wife Rebecca’s support for his “crazy idea”.    Then we broke some sod in a big group, and a plaque was unveiled commemorating the event.

Here are a few of the good photos captured (thanks also to Joanne Bargeson and David Cornfield some of the photos are theirs)

Closeup of shovels Patrick Awuah at Groundbreaking Caspar contemplates the groundbreaking  Patick and Students Ken Ofori-Atta, Patrick, US Ambassador Donald Tetelbaum

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kristi Helgeson permalink
    September 9, 2009 4:52 am

    Beyond the very palpable excitement within the Ashesi community at the groundbreaking celebration, I was touched by the warm welcome from the citizens of Berekuso. After the ceremony, I spent a bit of time talking with some local women and children. They expressed to me their dreams of one day attending Ashesi; of real opportunities in education for young women in Ghana, and in their village! Indeed, Ashesi is leading the way in its approach to women in education: roughly half of the entering class is women; we experienced Ashesi’s female students demonstrating great academic maturity and business savvy as they confidently presented on their work within and outside the Ashesi community; Ashesi’s faculty, staff and administration include an impressive team of women colleagues who obviously care deeply about the university and its mission and are working effectively to build a preeminent academic institution; Ashesi’s women alumni are making strides in Ghana’s professional sector, using their unique critical thinking and problem-solving skills to quickly advance in the workplace. Of course, in mentioning my pleasure with Ashesi’s women, I don’t mean to exclude enthusiasm for the university’s community as a whole. I came away from my week spent with Ashesi students, alumni, faculty and staff with a sense of awe, inspiration, and complete confidence in this organization’s ability to fulfill its hopes and dreams for Ghana and the African continent.

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