Commencement 2014 address by Jefferey Odame Koranteng '14, Senior Class Speaker
21st June, 2014

Dear World, you're welcome! 

Never before have a group of people so special, so diverse, and in the parlance of the philosophers of 2014, so "jer", been brought together in the spirit of making you a better place. 

We're a special breed us 2014s. 

Four years ago, we were united under a number, that not only symbolized the year we would be ready to grace you with change long overdue, but a number that represented perfection; a quality we all share and strive towards. 

We are the connoisseurs of change! In our midst you will find the brave and the bold. It is in the spirit of this connoisseurship we say: “Dear world you're welcome”, for after this day you shall never be the same! 

We speak with such conviction because it has been done before. We have changed the world- our world, Ashesi - in more ways than one. Indeed the Class of 2014 started creative movements on campus that will surely live on for years to come. Leonard Annan co-founded the adult literacy foundation, Adesua Ye which is contributing to positive change in the lives of the townspeople, who have found joy in learning and being able to help their children with their homework. George Neequaye helped raise funds to build the first school in Ghana for the international charity Pencils of Promise which is providing basic education for children who can‟t afford it in suitable classrooms. 

Beyond creation, the class of 2014 contributed to the growth and revival of already established groups on campus. Richard Bempong resuscitated the Ashesi Photography Club, bringing to life the beauty of this great institution through the images of the campus and the people in it, and in the process allowing others to get in touch with their creative sides. Passionate football fans such as Emmanuel Asaam, Delali Anagblah, Francis Lamptey and Eben Ogyiri helped established Arab Money and Walabele as 2 of the greatest football clubs this campus will ever get to see. Arab Money, with such strong and battle-ready characters was always a talking point of the league, and Walabele, the reigning champions of the Ashesi Premier League, never failed to entertain with their “champagne football”. 

These are just a few of the great pioneering stories that the class of 2014 has to offer. Each story started small but has made such a huge impact proving that from humble beginnings come great things. Today as a class, we embrace our greatest pioneering story yet - the first class to have its graduation ceremony on our very own home turf; this campus in Berekuso. 

I could go on about the impact that we, as students have had on Ashesi but I run the risk of telling a one-sided story. Ashesi University College has no doubt made great impact in our lives. I remember orientation week on our old Labone campus, where each one of us came in as individuals ready to pursue higher education whether it was by choice or by force. We each, very aware of our surroundings sized up the strangers we were to spend four years with; strangers who would become family. Within that first week, friendships were forged, alliances formed and the exuberant nature of the Class 2014 reared its head. We owned the school. The library at Bulding 1, as far as we were concerned, was Anna Lisa's Office and bless her heart, dear Nina had to climb up the stairs countless number of times to remind us that it was a library. That was our first lesson. 

Over the years, we have picked up other lessons; we have learned what it means to be honorable and to work with integrity. We have been molded by the three pillars of Ashesi – Citizenship (to give off the best you can to impact society and your environment), Scholarship (to apply yourself to learn all that you can and be curious) and Leadership (servant leadership pretty much sums it up). Each member of the 2014 year group has embodied these traits. 

This institution guided students to internships opportunities with firms both here in Ghana and abroad, and provided study abroad opportunities and catered to the needs of our international student body. We were given the chance to network with brilliant minds not just from Ghana but all over the world. 

Ashesi is more than a university; it is a community. This magnificent campus has helped students foster and nurture relationships not just amongst themselves but with faculty and staff as well. We referred to lecturers by their first name, and discussed issues and our ideas with them like we did with friends. Yet, we knew when to draw the boundaries, between us as students and our lecturers. It was very easy to walk into Sena and Esi's office to discuss academic and personal issues.

Dr. Korsah, a favorite of the Computer Science students, especially Delali and Fauzi, inspired a subtle urgency and craving for excellence. As students, we tried to outsmart them many times but we immediately realized we were no match. Take Mrs. Awuah, undoubtedly the most patient and most soft-spoken lecturer, such that one would think it would be easy to breeze through her course. Boy, were we mistaken. Pre-Calculus was enough mental training to withstand torture. Whoever you are, whatever you do, once you passed through the walls of this school, you were changed. We are changed. For this, we are grateful. 

It hasn't been an easy ride. We have lost comrades along the way, thanks to the period when the new grading system was introduced. But that downward spiral taught us resilience and teamwork. We fought back when it seemed like all hope was lost and have gotten through together. We were each our brother's keeper and that is how and why we have made it here today. 

Now back to 2014 because the day is all about us. The Class of 2014 graced Ashesi with some of the most interesting characters which in my humble opinion; this institution will not meet again. How can anyone forget Albert Ninepence who logged in more hours in the library than all 3 librarians combined? Or the fierce Writing Tutor who made grown men cry, Jessica Boifio; and not forgetting the toddler in the body of a grown man Michael Fiifi Quansah who allegedly gathered a group of guys to wake the entire campus at 4 a.m. with "jama"? This interesting mix of characters gave the campus a burst of life and no doubt Ashesi will surely miss them. 

Nananom, Mr. President, Honorable Guest Speaker, Mr Vice Chancellor, the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, family and friends, fellow comrades, the number 2014 holds great significance for us. It marks the first step, the genesis, the beginning of our journey to change and impact our world. There is a more important number however. 104. 104 Spartans sit before you today. 104 gallant soldiers armed with the spirit of family and friendship, the desire for excellence, the ability to make things happen and the characters of honour and integrity. 

To the graduating class of 2014, we made it! We came to this institution four years ago from different homes and different schools. However, we leave here today as a collective unit- we are the class of 2014. Today we sit here as men! Women! And leaders. Like the Black Stars, we are ready to take on the world. We might falter, we might fall, we might complain, but rest assured we will not rest until we‟ve made our mark. 

Let us not forget what went on within these classrooms. Let us not forget the holistic education we‟ve had. Like we‟ve done in Ashesi, let us set out to leave legacies that live long after us in the world we‟re moving into. To quote a favourite lecturer of ours, “start where you are with what you have” and above all, be the change you want to see in the world.