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Meet the Inaugural Recipient of the Waugh Family Foundation Award for Horatio Alger Scholars at Huron University

Apr 24 2023

LONDON, ON – From leading in his community in Vancouver to representing young Canadian scholars in Washington to preparing for an education at Huron - Irtaza Ahmad is a prime example of what it takes to be a leader with heart.

Huron University is pleased to announce Irtaza is the inaugural recipient of the Waugh Family Foundation Award for Horatio Alger Scholars, made possible by a generous gift from the Waugh Family Foundation. In partnership with the Horatio Alger Association of Canada, the Waugh Family Foundation Award will be presented annually to a Horatio Alger Scholar, selected in recognition of their perseverance through adversity, academic achievements, and leadership potential. In addition to the Waugh Family Foundation Award, Horatio Alger Scholars also receive funding for post-secondary studies and mentorship from accomplished leaders.

Irtaza will begin pursuing his undergraduate degree in management and organizational studies at Huron this fall. Ahmad has an impressive record of youth leadership initiatives in his community, including serving as an executive member of a non-profit charity organization, a teacher at his mosque, a social media coordinator for political campaigns, and a club founder and president at his high school. He recognizes the incredible opportunity ahead and plans to immerse himself in Huron's culture when he arrives.

“I’m beyond thrilled to be recognized for the hard work and dedication I’ve committed to my studies and extracurriculars", said Ahmad. “I can’t wait to explore all the options Huron provides, not just in terms of academics but in student clubs, volunteering, and internships. I’m particularly impressed with the small class sizes and the dedication to the student experience. I feel like it’s a place where I can really leave a mark.”

‘’The Waugh Family Foundation Award and the Horatio Alger Scholarship are quite special in my eyes, as they reward perseverance through adversity and focus on hard work and meritocracy. I also appreciate the scholarships’ emphasis on service. I look forward to meeting other Horatio Alger Scholars and am proud to be paving the way for future Scholars who will attend Huron University in the years to come.’’

Last month, Huron’s Vice-President of University Growth Lisa Jones Keenan attended Johnston Heights Secondary School to award Ahmad with the Waugh Family Foundation Award.

“This is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Jones Keenan. “There’s no better feeling than providing an opportunity for someone as thoughtful and accomplished as Irtaza. While we are happy to award this scholarship, we are certain his future accomplishments and contributions to our community will provide value that can’t be measured. We can’t wait to welcome Irtaza to campus this fall!”

Upon receiving the Horatio Alger Scholarship, Irtaza was invited to attend and speak at the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans’ annual Awards Ceremony hosted in Washington, D.C. at the end of March. Both the Canadian and American Associations award lifelong membership to distinguished members who have exemplified the Horatio Alger values of grit, integrity, and perseverance. Irtaza had the opportunity to address the 500-person audience as a guest on the panel dedicated to the Scholars. He spoke warmly about his journey as a student, his volunteer work, and his entrepreneurial ambitions, and he represented Canada and his fellow scholars exceptionally well. Irtaza also participated in an event at the Canadian embassy in Washington, where he met Canadian Ambassador Kirsten Hillman, and Prem Watsa, President of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada, CEO of Fairfax Holdings Limited and Chancellor of Huron University.

Irtaza visiting the Canadian Embassy in Washington with Canadian Ambassador Kirsten Hillman (left) and Prem Watsa (right), President of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada, CEO of Fairfax Holdings Limited and Chancellor of Huron University.

The Waugh Family Foundation Award was established in 2022 through a generous gift from the Waugh Family Foundation. The Award reflects the Foundation’s commitment to ensuring that a high-quality education is accessible to all students, regardless of financial need, and aligns with the Foundation’s longstanding support and engagement with both Huron and the Horatio Alger Association of Canada.

“We are delighted to congratulate Irtaza Ahmad, the first recipient of The Waugh Family Foundation Award for Horatio Alger Scholars at Huron University,” said David Waugh, Director of the Board for the Waugh Family Foundation. “This Award has its genesis in our Foundation's strong interest in ensuring talented students from all walks of life can access higher education and reach their goals.  As an alumnus of Huron University myself, and with the Chair of our Board an active Member of the Horatio Alger Association, working with Huron to offer this tripartite Award was a natural fit. We wish Irtaza a very successful and rewarding time of study at Huron.”

Huron and the Horatio Alger Association of Canada are grateful to the Waugh Family Foundation, to President Richard E. Waugh (who also serves as Treasurer of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada), and to Director David Waugh (Huron alumnus, Class of 2003).