The MacArthur Foundation made an excellent choice giving Microsoft veteran Patrick Awuah one of its “genius grants.”
SEATTLE has remarkable philanthropists making the world a much better place.
Many emerged from Microsoft with wealth, drive and ideas to spare. Collectively, they do so much, it’s hard to decide which stories to tell and whose accomplishments to laud.
Yet the MacArthur Foundation made an excellent choice this week when it selected Patrick Awuah for its Fellows program, providing him with a coveted “genius grant.”
Awuah left Microsoft in 1997 to pursue his dream of elevating Africa by creating a university that would produce ethical leaders and critical thinkers. He moved his young family from Seattle to his native Ghana and started Ashesi University in 2002 with 30 students.
Ashesi has since graduated more than 700 students, all of whom were placed in quality jobs.
Awuah did not make a fortune at Microsoft and has relied on support from former co-workers, friends and others to endow and construct Ashesi. It’s now a free-standing campus outside of Accra with around 630 students from more than a dozen African countries.
The $625,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation is well-deserved.
But for Awuah, it’s likely that the apex of his week is yet to come. On Saturday, Ashesi inaugurates a gleaming building to house a new engineering program that will increase enrollment to more than 1,000 over the next four years.
The MacArthur Foundation should stay tuned — Ashesi may produce candidates for future genius grants.