The NEW and IMPROVED Ashesi University

Greetings from Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana! We’re here helping Ashesi with their strategic planning for the next 10 years, and on Tuesday we had the privilege of seeing the manifestation of their first 10 years of planning, growth and success – namelyAshesi’s new permanent campus, which has been under construction for the last 18 months and will be completed by the end of June.It’s in a village called Berekuso about an hour north of Accra, on top of a hill overlooking hills and valleys, andit is beautiful (see the attached pictures ofthe old and new library and classrooms – does the new classroom layout look familiar?).I spent the morning marveling not only about the beauty of the buildings, landscaping and views, but also about how it must feel for Patrick Awuah, the President and founder of Ashesi, to walk around that campus and see a reality that less than 15 years ago was just an idea in his own mind.It’s hard to know how often he’s able to take a step back and just take that in, as he’s mired in millions of details from contractor overruns to figuring out the meal plan policies to trying to get the government to properly pave the only road that connects Ashesi to Accra (the current one is crumbling – the easiest parts to drive on are where it’s disintegrated enough that you can just drive on the dirt to the side of the road).The visit was also great because it helped us to see how relevant our project workstreams really are to what’s happening now with the University.For example, one piece of what we’re working on is assessing their options for financing additional dorms.All semester we’ve been talking about it, but to be on campus and see the new dorms, and also to see the long and unpleasant commute that those living off campus will have to make, it became much more real for us.We’re also working on recommending what types of engineering majors Ashesi should offer, and the architectural plans already include a “Phase 2” that lays out where the buildings housing these new majors will go.I would say our main takeaways from our day in Berekuso were:

1 – The students are going to love their new school

2 – It must be an amazing feeling to see your vision become such a concrete reality

3 – We have to figure out how to get Haas to fund our trip back here next year to see the place in action

—Jenni Tonti

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