The Untold Stories of Asante Kings in the Establishment of KNUST

With the significant and influential yet untold contribution made by Asante Kings towards the establishment of one of the world’s best universities, it was only appropriate that the Chancellorship mandate was bestowed upon Manhyia Palace nearly two decades ago.

During the culmination of the Chancellor’s Week, a week-long programme to celebrate the leadership of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in the past 25 years on the Golden Stool, by the KNUST, it was found that the idea for the establishment university was conceived by Prempeh I.

Recounting the series of events that preceded the establishment, the 16th Monarch of the Kingdom and the first Chancellor of the school said despite conceiving the idea after his return from exile in the Seychelles, Prempeh I could not actualize the dream.

Yet, his successor, Prempeh II, built on it. After getting farmers within his Kingdom to contribute funds towards the establishment of the University of Ghana, Legon set out to get the government to establish a technological university in Kumasi offering a vast land and money.

“We are here today due to the vision that was invested by my grand uncle {Prempeh I} when he returned from Seychelles. He was an illiterate and came back as an educated person and having tasted education in Seychelles, envisaged that there should be a university in Kumasi. The vision could not be fulfilled, so my uncle, Prempeh II succeeded him and made the offer.

“Before that, JB Danquah had come to see him for the establishment of a university and he got the farmers to contribute to the establishment of the University of Ghana in Legon. A lot of cocoa farmers were here and in the Western Region and that’s how it started. The second one was that we also needed a university here. Kwame Nkrumah asked for land and that is why we are here today.”

He said the land at the time was surveyed by his brother who later became the 15th Monarch.

“My brother Otumfuo Opoku Ware II surveyed the land… My brother who at the time was in charge of the Asantehene Land Secretariat was charged to demarcate all this land where it was constructed.”

“Prempeh I had the vision, Prempeh II bringing it to fruition and then offering the land and also contributing money.”

His Majesty in his speech indicated that the association of Asante Kings to the university affirms their commitment to making the institution witness exponential growth.

Before taking over as Chancellor, the student population was just 8,000; however, it has since skyrocketed by 1000%, becoming the first choice of many Ghanaians.

Elaborating on his leadership as chancellor since 2005, he said, “I committed to making this University one of the best in the world. I know my good has not been good enough but I will continue to be good enough to get the university going…All I have done, I have done with the university. In 1999-2000, Prof Ayim was here, then Prof Andam and then Prof Adarkwa continued, Ellis continued, Prof Obiri Danso continued, and then I have Akosua now continuing. Looking at the projects I went through with them, they would mention as I proffer advice but I don’t interfere at all.

“I have never believed in intimidating or interfering. When the administration structures are there, the rules and regulations of the university must work. I am the tutelage head but that does not mean I come and boss my way around here. I have had confidence in the administrations that have come through since I came through and I’ve always believed in the administrations that take over this university and that’s why we’ve come this far. I will continue to support this university. All that I expect of them is to go by the dictates of the laid down rules.”

He commended the unity among staff and management for his successful leadership over the school.

“I’m fortunate to have all the staff, management and all in unison to develop this university. We resolve all hitches of industrial actions quietly with me here. We live as a family and we make sure everything is discussed internally.”

The curtain was drawn on the four-day Chancellor’s Week Celebration by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on Friday, May 10, 2024.

The programme held in honour of the Asantehene on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee on the Golden Stool climaxed with the presentation of congratulatory messages by unions in the school as well as the presentation of a citation to the Monarch.

Present at the event were the Asantehene, his wife, Lady Julia, traditional authorities in Asanteman, the Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Akosua Dickson and other management members, staff and students of the institution.

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