Patrick Awuah Jr., Founder and President, Ashesi University College, Ghana; Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO, The Container Store; and Saras Sarasvathy, Associate Professor, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Babson College has named Patrick Awuah Jr., Founder and President of Ashesi University College in Ghana and Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO of the Container Store Honorary Degree Candidates and Commencement Speakers for the 2013 undergraduate and graduate Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18.

Saras Sarasvathy, Associate Professor, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, will also receive an Honorary Degree at the graduate ceremony.

Awuah will speak at the 10:00 a.m. undergraduate ceremony and receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Tindell will speak at the 2:30 p.m. graduate ceremony and will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Sarasvathy will receive an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters at the graduate ceremony.

Patrick Awuah Jr. has been recognized globally for creating a bold and innovative educational model in Ashesi University College that offers the promise of transforming higher education in Africa. This new kind of liberal arts university, established in Ghana in 2002, educates young people in critical thinking, ethical service, and entrepreneurial leadership.
For his inspiring accomplishment of developing and leading an institution to educate Africa’s next generation of leaders, he was nominated as a Global Leader 2007 by the World Economic Forum. In 2009 he won the John P. McNulty Prize from the Aspen Institute as an extraordinary young leader making creative, effective and lasting contributions to his or her community. In 2010 he was recognized as Ghana’s 8th most respected CEO and the winner of the Educational Development Millennium Excellence Award in Ghana. Last year, the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley presented him with its 2012 Leading Through Innovation Award.

He holds Bachelor degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College, an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and an Honorary Doctorate from Swarthmore College.

Kip Tindell created the first company with stores devoted solely to storage and organization products—and today The Container Store remains the leader in an industry that thrives. Launched in 1978 with a store in Dallas, The Container Store has expanded to more than 58 locations nationwide.

Tindell has built the company around a unique “employee first” culture, which empowers employees to use their own intuition and creativity to solve problems. Employees are paid 50 to 100 percent more than the retail industry average and generous benefits are provided to retain the best people. As a result of the culture he has created, he has nurtured a fierce loyalty to the company, which has an unusually large number of career employees. In addition to his intense employee commitment, he has built a set of corporate values that emphasize superior customer service and strict merchandising.

Under Tindell’s guidance and leadership, The Container Store has ranked on FORTUNE magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 14 years. In 2006 he and his wife Sharon (Chief Merchandising Officer) and co-founder Garrett Boone were inducted into the Retailing Hall of Fame. And, in 2011 he received the most coveted award in retail—the National Retail Federation’s Gold Medal—given to individuals who have served the industry with distinction and achieved a national reputation for excellence.

With her pioneering research, Saras Sarasvathy has reshaped the perception of how high performing entrepreneurs think and act. Through careful examination of the logic patterns of successful entrepreneurs, she developed a method of entrepreneurial thought called Effectuation. Effectuation— the idea that the future is unpredictable but that entrepreneurs can succeed by creating opportunities—provided a totally different framework for understanding the behavior of entrepreneurs.

Demonstrating that entrepreneurial thinking is learnable and teachable, Sarasvathy’s ideas were critical to the development of Babson’s unique method for teaching entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®. Her work strongly influenced Babson’s strategy and pedagogy for the College.

Her research has won several awards, including the 2001 William H. Newman Award from the Academy of Management and the 2009 Gerald E. Hills Best Paper Award from the American Marketing Association. Her book, Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise, was nominated for the 2009 Terry Book Award by the Academy of Management. She also co-authored a textbook on the topic titled Effectual Entrepreneurship that won the gold medal in the 2012 Axiom Business Book Awards.

As extraordinary leaders who are transforming the world in different and impactful ways, Awuah, Tindell, and Sarasvathy embody the mission of Babson—to educate entrepreneurial leaders who make and find opportunities that create economic and social value everywhere.