The University of Rochester’s Strong Ties to the African Leadership Academy

The African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. offers a two-year curriculum in African studies, writing and rhetoric, and entrepreneurial leadership to exceptional high school students from over 50 African nations. The academy opened 10 years ago and is dedicated to transforming the African continent by identifying, developing, and fostering connections among its most promising future leaders.

Since its founding the African Leadership Academy has had 75 of its graduates attend the University of Rochester in New York. This is nearly double the number of the university with the second highest total. The University of Notre Dame in Indiana has enrolled 40 graduates of the African Leadership Academy. The incoming University of Rochester Class of 2022 has 13 graduates from the academy.

As a stipulation for admission to the academy, the students promise to return to the continent and use what they learned to help overcome longstanding challenges.

Jonathan Burdick, Rochester’s vice provost for enrollment initiatives and dean of admissions and financial aid, notes that not only does the university offer a great opportunity for African students, but they in turn enrich the campus community. “Most students who come to Rochester have never met anyone from Africa or been to Africa,” he says. “It’s mind blowing for them to get to know these great African students.”


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