One narrative of the vision of higher education in Ashanti credits Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh II, upon ascending to the Golden Stool in 1935, continued with the vision of his predecessor to establish a university in Kumasi. Events in the Gold Coast in the 1940s played into his hands. First there was the establishment of the University College of the Gold Coast. Second there were the 1948 riots and the consequent Watson Commission report which recommended that a university of sciences be established in Kumasi. Thus, in 1949, the dream of the Prempeh’s became a reality when building started on what was to be called the Kumasi College of Technology.
The Kumasi College of Technology offered admission to its first students to the engineering faculty in 1951 (they entered in 1952), and an Act of Parliament gave the university its legal basis as the Kumasi College of Technology on January 22, 1952. The nucleus of the college was formed from 200 teacher training students transferred from Achimota in the Greater Accra Region. The college was affiliated to the University of London. In 1961, the college was granted full university status.
In December 1960, the Government of Ghana appointed a University Commission to advise it on the development of university education, in connection with the proposal to transform the University College of Ghana and the Kumasi College of Technology into an independent University of Ghana. Following the report of the commission, with Kojo Botsio as Chairman and E. A. Ulzen as secretary, which came out early 1961, the government decided to establish two independent universities in Kumasi and Legon, Accra. The Kumasi College of Technology was thus transformed, under the supervision of R. P. Baffour the first Vice-Chancellor, into a full-fledged University Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology by an Act of Parliament on 22 August 1961. The name honors Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister and later president of Ghana.