Saturday, 22nd June 2013 – Ashesi University celebrated its 9th graduating class at a ceremony held at the Burma Hall in Accra. Over 1,500 family, friends, and members of the Ashesi community joined the 116 graduates of the Class of 2013 to celebrate the culmination of four years of hard work. Captain Budu Koomson, Chief Operations Officer at Unique Trust (UT) Financial Services, spoke on behalf of UT CEO Prince Kofi Amoabeng at the ceremony.
In her opening address, Provost, Dr. Marcia Grant, shared three leadership lessons with the class, from Chinua Achebe’s last book, “There was a Country.” The reading focused on what Achebe learned from his father-in-law, his teachers at the University of Ibadan and from Nelson Mandela.
“Don’t say or imply that what someone else has to say or is saying is not worth attending or listening to,” she read. “Even when there was strong disagreement, one had to remember to be discordant with respect.”
Congratulating the university’s largest graduating class yet, Ashesi President, Dr. Patrick Awuah, encouraged members to remember the lessons they had learned at Ashesi – the spirit of teamwork, the humility to learn from mistakes, and the importance of living with integrity.
“As future leaders of Africa, you have a unique responsibility to find ways to collaborate with others, in a way that benefits your continent and the world,” Dr. Awuah said. “The person who truly sees himself as equal to another has no difficulty learning from or sharing information with others. Learning from someone else does not take anything away from you.”
Captain Budu Koomson, on his part, advised the graduates to embrace success and challenged them to be deliberate in charting out their future. “Be a deliberate person,” he said. “Plan and take charge of your future. Pace yourself, but set realistic acts. Build experience to do what it is that you want to do.”
Speaking on behalf of the Class of 2013, Senior Class Speaker, Frances Akrong ’13 shared memories the class had created together, read tributes on how the class had impacted Ashesi during its four years in the community, and thanked Ashesi for the lessons the university had taught them.
“University moulds you, and as far as we are concerned, Ashesi molded us more than any university in Ghana could,” she read. “It was the last stop on our journey from being teenagers into becoming adults. [...] Today we gather here not just as one graduating class, but as a part of something bigger: the Ashesi community. Past, present and future. The journey we have taken is one that unites us with those who walked the path before us and those who will walk in our footsteps in years to come."
Frances asked her classmates to not just hope, but also believe that they would make a difference for Africa. "Our next chapter starts today, so Class of 2013, hold your hats and walk out of this hall and into the world full of passion and persistence,” she added. “Embrace not the possibility, but rather the certainty that you are Africa’s future.”
There were loud cheers inside Burma Hall, as graduates walked across the stage in a symbolic gesture marking their passage. There were some who cried, as the emotion of the day’s ceremony swept over them. For all the challenges the class had overcome during their time at Ashesi, this was the strongest sign to them that it had all been worth it, as families and friends proudly posed with them for photos.
We are proud of you, Ashesi class of 2013!