BentallGreenOak and Schulich establish $250,000 scholarship program to support Black, Indigenous and female students


York University’s Schulich School of Business and BentallGreenOak (BGO), a global real estate investment management advisor, announced on June 10 the establishment of a new scholarship to enable pathways for Black, Indigenous, and female students to study and pursue a career in the commercial real estate industry.

The Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award commits $250,000 over 10 years in an annually awarded scholarship, and includes the consideration for a paid, 12-month internship at BGO following graduation.

The scholarship established by BGO is named after its former CEO, Gary Whitelaw, who will actively oversee the performance of the program and provide mentorship throughout its duration. Every year, $25,000 will be awarded to a Black, Indigenous or female student enrolled in Schulich’s Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure program or to a second-year MBA student specializing in real estate.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must also have a minimum GPA of 6.0 or a B+ average, demonstrate financial need, and submit a statement of interest demonstrating their leadership potential. Annual adjudication of the scholarship, one of the largest at Schulich, will be completed by the Schulich Financial Aid Office.

“Our mission towards a more equitable and inclusive future at BGO rests on the strong foundation that Gary Whitelaw helped to build over his more than two decades of leadership,” said Sonny Kalsi, CEO of BentallGreenOak. “This scholarship, in his name, represents a continuation of this important work, and we are looking forward to supporting Gary in his efforts to enable opportunities for young, diverse talent to bring strength and progress to our industry.”

Detlev Zwick

Detlev Zwick, interim dean of the Schulich School of Business, said the school is grateful for the support provided by BentallGreenOak. “BGO shares our school’s commitment to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive business community, and the Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award will help further our goal of providing increased funding in support of under-represented students. What is especially valuable about the BGO scholarship is the fact that, in addition to generous financial support, it removes additional barriers by providing students with the possibility to gain vital industry experience and networking opportunities,” he said.

Both York University and BGO are signatories to the BlackNorth Initiative’s pledge, which acknowledges the need within the business community to create opportunities for Black people as well as ensure that businesses are representative of the communities they serve.

“This scholarship demonstrates both access and inclusion for those in the underrepresented BIPOC community,” said Dahabo Ahmed-Omer, executive director of the BlackNorth Initiative. “Supporting under-represented students to fully participate in their program of study without financial barriers ensures all students have equal opportunity to succeed, creating a more equitable, diverse future for all.”

The scholarship launches this year, with the first awardee to be named in Fall 2021. To learn more, visit

About BentallGreenOak

BentallGreenOak is a leading global real estate investment management advisor and a globally recognized provider of real estate services. BentallGreenOak serves the interests of more than 750 institutional clients with approximately $62 billion USD of assets under management (as of March 31) and expertise in the asset management of office, industrial, multi-residential, retail and hospitality property across the globe. BentallGreenOak has offices in 24 cities across 12 countries, with deep, local knowledge, experience, and extensive networks in the regions where it invests in and manages real estate assets on behalf of its clients in primary, secondary and co-investment markets. BentallGreenOak is a part of SLC Management, which is the alternatives asset management business of Sun Life.

The assets under management shown above include real estate equity and mortgage investments managed by the BentallGreenOak group of companies and their affiliates.