Esther Nipaa Osei speaks on behalf of the Class of 2010

The President of Ashesi, members of the donor community, distinguished guests, faculty, staff and students, Class of 2010, ladies and gentlemen.

Today marks a high point in all of our lives and we are extremely glad to have you all share it with us. It has been a journey of laughter and tears yet we stand triumphant on this day.

It would be unfair to ignore the contributions of our parents and family who have served most significantly as financial oil tanks and also as mentors, inspirers and motivators who have prodded us on to finally complete this journey. To Ashesi’s donor partners, we are grateful for your unending support. Without you, the Ashesi dream would have remained bleak and completely out of reach for most of us.

For many of us, Ashesi seemed like a dream come true. We were ready to take on the world with everything we had to give. It looks like only yesterday when we were seated under a canopy at the building 2 fore court earnestly being groomed and oriented into the enviable Ashesi culture. Many of us were really expectant, yet could not envision any of what the story looks like today.

With open minds our journey began. With this journey came wonderful opportunities, which took the forms of internships to Goldman Sachs, a semester abroad at Babson College, with the first student ever to partake coming from this class. Then there was also the Semester at Sea, with the first participant from this class and finally, five of our hardworking colleagues have gained employment with General Electric.

One cannot forget the seemingly endless debate that finally led members of this class to sign unto the honor system; having concluded that the honor system, gives us the chance to act as honorable leaders and to uphold integrity as a banner. It is therefore both ironical and heartbreaking to find our institution being victimized for charting and advocating a path many have failed to tread. It is possible to fight against the stated honour code but in our hearts, no one will ever win the battle against honour. We have come from a background that has taught us that it was right to get by and wrong to get caught. However, for us, its time to say enough is enough!

Our journey cannot be described without the excellent contributions of Faculty and Staff. It is impossible to ignore faculty members such as, Mark Poynter, whose class was often filled with wit and sarcasm yet very didactic, Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta who got the entire class snooping into newspapers and listening to the daily news. We will remember Edward Abrokwah; whose lectures were always spot-on and brought afore issues of great national concern; Mr. Dafla who helped us see beyond the impossible when possibility seemed out of reach and of course, Professor Richard Douglas, with whose help this class held the first ever social research methods fair. We say a big thank you.

In as much as the journey was fun, it is sad to recall the passing of our brother and friend, Nana Aggrey-Essilfie; a member of this class, who did not make it to the end of the journey. To this day, we say Nana, we will miss you dearly.

One of the keys that made Mahatma Gandhi a great leader, was his unique interest in the welfare of the people he served. A key attribute of a successful leader is a heart of service. As ethical and entrepreneurial leaders, one thing we take with us is the knowledge of service, service not to ourselves but to the society and to the African continent. To have reached this part of our journey through Ashesi, we are half way through fulfilling the vision of this great institution. What is left is for us to go forth and take charge of our destinies.

We have been equipped with tools to build the impossible. Tools that will enable us thrive, in any economy. Also embedded in us, is the knowledge to strive for excellence, excellence in every arena of life; compounded with values of scholarship, leadership and citizenship. As we march forth, we do so with a sense of responsibility to create, build and make this society better than we met it, in order to leave a lasting legacy for those yet unborn. This is the charge with which we step out today.

Ladies and gentlemen, seated amongst you today, are amongst the world’s greatest top executives, entrepreneurs, finance administrators, presidents, and advisors of state; in the likes of Kofi Annan, Kofi Amoabeng, Kwaku Bediako, Georgina Wood, Ken Ofori-Atta, Akua Kuenyehia, Prof. Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu and Prof. Addai.

I will therefore entreat you all, to take this opportunity and make as many contacts as possible, for next time you may have to book an appointment a month in advance to meet any of us.

We are grateful to the Most High God for bringing us this far!

Long live Ashesi, long live the Class of 2010!!!

Thank you!