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ASU professor earns honorary doctorate in Ghana

February 01, 2007

Leslie Irwin, associate professor in Arizona State University’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership at the West campus, has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the governing council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), in Ghana.

The honorary Ph.D. has been awarded for Irwin’s “record of distinguished service to this university, Ghana and the international community,” noted C.Y. Akwaa-Mensah, registrar at the University of Education.

Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, vice chancellor of UEW said, “We are proud to confer on Dr. Leslie Irwin our highest award, Doctorate Degree, Doctorate of Letters, Honoris Causa.”

“This is a real surprise, and I am deeply honored by this gesture,” said Irwin, who is an associate professor in professional education and elementary education at ASU. “The greatest challenges in education in Ghana that I have detected have to do with human and material resources, so to learn that my small contribution is making a difference is most rewarding.”

Irwin’s contributions go back seven years when he began an annual book drive, soliciting educational materials for donation to UEW from West campus students, faculty and staff.

“I have sent boxes of books every year since; the campus community has been so generous and supportive, and it has made all the difference in the world,” he said. “Last year alone, I collected and shipped 82 boxes that included professional textbooks that are in great need and well-used by students and faculty at the university.

“This is such a great example of what ASU stands for – embeddedness in the community and sense of social responsibility,” Irwin added.

The university, accredited in Ghana as a Teacher Education Institution, earned autonomous status in 2004. The degree was announced upon the 11th congregation ceremony during which 2,559 students were awarded certificates, diplomas and masters degrees.

“Highly qualified instructors, professional textbooks, audiovisual aids – the educational materials to which we have easy access here in the States, and sometimes take for granted – these are the needs of the educational system in Ghana,” said Irwin. “These things and other instructional necessities are welcomed by the university and are put to great use to the benefit of both instructors and students.”