Imtiaz Ahmad

Along with his Islamic faith, a focus on helping others has defined Imtiaz Ahmad’s life purpose.

March 29, 2022 | | Over the Next Hill

Snapshot: Meet a Community Elder

At 80, Imtiaz Ahmad says he is “still working on becoming a better human being.”

Along with his Islamic faith, a focus on helping others has defined Imtiaz Ahmad’s life purpose. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Along with his Islamic faith, a focus on helping others has defined Imtiaz Ahmad’s life purpose. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

When he retired in 2012 from a distinguished academic career, Imtiaz and his wife, Rita, moved to Caledon to be closer to their children, who live in Toronto. In Caledon he has continued the volunteer work that has been a touchstone of his life. He is now the international service chair of the Palgrave Rotary Club, a position that involves supporting worldwide humanitarian projects.

As chair, for example, Imtiaz learned of the plight of Egyptian children who were dying of congenital heart disease because treatments were inadequate. So in partnership with Rotary Clubs elsewhere, he guided the Palgrave club to join a project that gives these children a new lease on life.

Born in India but raised in Pakistan, Imtiaz first came to Canada to do graduate work in electrical engineering at the University of Ottawa. University computer science departments were nonexistent at the time, but computers were the coming thing – and the focus of his electrical engineering studies.

Several years later, with doctorate in hand and married to Rita, a Franco-Ontarian, he moved back to Pakistan to resume his career. But Imtiaz was uncomfortable with the social norms he encountered there. So in 1970, he and Rita, now with two children, returned to Ottawa, where he was welcomed to a faculty position at his alma mater.

With his computer skills in great demand, he moved to the University of Windsor, where he and Rita celebrated the birth of their third child, and then on to Eastern Michigan University in Ann Arbor, where he is now professor emeritus.

“The commute from Windsor to Ann Arbor could be tedious, but it also gave me thinking time,” he says.

Along the way, Imtiaz experienced a revival of his Muslim faith and its focus on helping others. He served as president of the Windsor Islamic Association and president of the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers of North America. He was also instrumental in creating the Islamic Society of North America, one of whose goals is to foster understanding of Islam.

Calling himself a dreamer, he says that he never felt denied opportunities in Canada because he was born elsewhere. “As humans, our real value comes from what we do for others,” he says.

About the Author More by Gail Grant

Gail Grant is a freelance writer who lives in Palgrave.

Related Stories

In 2021, Kathy Anderson and Michael Coombs, who met through an online dating site, celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary on their sailboat Escape. Photo Courtesy Kathy Anderson.

Digital Dating

Mar 29, 2022 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

The ways we meet may change, but the laws of attraction never grow old.

Carmel Hili has devoted his life to advocating for the homeless. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Carmel Hili

Nov 29, 2021 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Carmel is currently involved in helping to sponsor and settle families from Iraq, Syria and Pakistan.

Jack and Margaret Fleetwood moved to a retirement residence when Margaret’s health concerns curbed her independence. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Is Now the Right Time for Congregate Living?

Nov 29, 2021 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

Driven by the huge baby boomer demographic, which is wealthier than any age cohort before them, the retirement community industry continues to innovate.

Gearing Down

Sep 24, 2021 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

When it’s time to put on the brakes — for good.


1 Comment

  1. Gail has the ability to get involved with whatever she finds that requires some help. The individuals that she reports on seem to share her beliefs. Bernie

    Bernie Rochon from Palgrave on Apr 4, 2022 at 10:33 am | Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to