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Patrick Awuah to Address Graduates at Olin’s 12th Commencement

The commencement speaker at Olin College’s 12th Commencement May 14 will be Patrick G. Awuah, Jr., a globally recognized education leader who, as founder and president of Ashesi University, has created an innovative model for educating a new generation of leaders to transform Africa.

Awuah founded Ashesi in 2002 to provide greater educational opportunities in his native Ghana. Today it is considered one of Africa’s leading institutions of higher learning, drawing students from 20 African countries and enrolling nearly 800 students, about half of whom are women. Its innovative liberal arts curriculum focuses on ethical leadership, entrepreneurship and critical thinking.

Awuah holds bachelor degrees in engineering and economics from Swarthmore College, an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College and Babson College. He worked as an engineer and program manager at Microsoft before he moved back to Ghana to found Ashesi, motivated by the dramatic impact that education had in his own life.

“Patrick Awuah is an inspiring leader whose story of personal transformation through education and calling to provide opportunities for others will resonate greatly with the Olin community,” said Olin President Richard K. Miller. “I can think of few people who better exemplify our mission to educate innovators to tackle the world’s greatest challenges and make the world a better place.”

Awuah has won many prestigious international awards for his educational leadership, including the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the McNulty Prize and membership of the Order of the Volta, one of Ghana’s highest awards, given to individuals who exemplify the ideal of service to the country. In 2015, Awuah was named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune magazine and received the Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award, given to UC Berkeley alumni with distinguished records of service to their countries.