A valedictorian of the October 2023 graduating cohort of the Kwame University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Bright Kwame Boadu, has appealed to wealthy individuals and families to be more benevolent and support brilliant needy students to realise their dreams and contribute to the development of society.
Mr Boadu, whose university education was funded by businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Seidu Agongo, graduated with a cumulative weighted average (CWA) of 78.88, making him the best among 1,104 graduands from the KNUST College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
He has since been retained by the college as a teaching assistant for his national service while pursuing plans to further his education and realise his dream of becoming a renowned animal scientist.
He told the media after delivering his valedictorian speech that but for the intervention of Alhaji Agongo, he would have either performed poorly or deferred the programme as a result of limited resources.
The son of a single parent said many students were in his situation but the benevolence of wealthy Ghanaians and corporate institutions could help them to shine.
“But for Alhaji Agongo, I can say I will not have been here as the valedictorian of my graduating group. Before I met him, I was trekking to school and combining studies with extra classes so that I could raise money to feed and pay for books. These weighed heavily on my performance,” the Bachelor of Agriculture graduate said.
“But when he came through and took up all my expenses – fees, hostel, feeding and upkeep – I stopped the extra classes and put my all on books and I saw my grades improving,” said.
Mr Boadu also appealed to society to understand the situations of the youth before passing judgment on their performance, noting that although he had the potential, his predicament risked masking it.
“People are really struggling and there are a lot of brilliant people out there who need some small push to shine. Unfortunately, people care more about themselves than a better society but we should learn to share more and it will bring big changes to people's lives and our society,” he said.
“If people are not performing, it could be finance or something because there are problems. Like my situation, if not for Alhaji Agongo’s intervention, I could have had second class and or even lower people would have said I am not serious meanwhile the truth is that was sacrificing my CWA to make ends meet,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Boadu described Alhaji Agongo, who founded the collapsed Heritage Bank Limited, as a silent philanthropist whose generosity has touched countless lives and made dreams come true.
He also challenged his fellow graduates to not be fixated on grades or outcomes, “for success is a multifaceted journey.
“You will define it, and no one will ever belittle you again. Success will emanate from your inner compass of decency and purpose,” he said.
He also commended Gifty Boakye, who he said first discovered him and funded his education before connecting him with Alhaji Agongo.
On the way forward for him, Mr Boadu said as part of his studies, he developed interest in animal feed, particularly for poultry and would aim to develop cheaper yet nutritious alternative feed to the maize-sourced ones in the system.
“The price of the feed of the birds is escalating and that is collapsing many farms across the country. I want to explore alternatives to maize, which the poultry competes for with humans, and I am hopeful that I can develop something mega using cassava,” he said.
He said as part of his project work, he researched on how to use cassava to develop the feed and was now working on securing scholarship for a master degree during which he would expand the research further.
Call to the bar
In October, another benefactor of Alhaji Agongo, Frederick Agaaya Adongo, was called to the bar after successfully completing the law progamme and passing the bar exam, which the philanthropist funded.
The latest add to a tall list of students that the founder of the Class Media Group supports on the quiet.
He adopted and sponsored the education of 81 students in the St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Accra through to various tertiary schools nation-wide.
In 2019, the Muslim philanthropist constructed a 30-bed block at a cost of GH¢857,000 for the Child Emergency Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (K’Bu) in Accra.
Alhaji Agongo has also donated sewing machines, tools for various artisans and start-up capitals to people, mostly single mothers, widows and persons with disability, across the country as part of a personal resolve to build a better society.
He is currently coordinating list of needy people affected by the Akosombo Dam spillage for support.