Schulich master’s student earns Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award

students black diverse woman

An award that celebrates individuals committed to improving diversity and representation in Canada’s commercial real estate industry has been awarded to Silas Jjuuko, a master’s student at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Silas Jjuuko
Silas Jjuuko

The Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award was established by BentallGreenOak (BGO) in June 2021, and honours Gary Whitelaw’s tireless efforts and commitment to creating opportunities for underrepresented communities and aims to create pathways for Black, Indigenous and female students in the commercial real estate industry.

As a recipient of this award, Jjuuko will receive $25,000 to support his scholarly activities and research as a student enrolled in Schulich’s Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure program. Second-year MBA students, specializing in the Real Estate and Infrastructure program, are also eligible for the award.

“This recognition will alleviate the financial pressures I have been experiencing. I am honoured beyond words and promise to pursue my education, leadership responsibilities and true representation of the group of students for which this award was intended,” said Jjuuko.

The Gary Whitelaw Strength in Diversity Award not only provides generous financial support, but it also removes additional barriers by offering students, like Jjuuko, the opportunity to gain industry experience and networking opportunities through a paid, 12-month internship program at BGO following graduation.

“This scholarship represents our ongoing commitment to increasing diversity in the commercial real estate industry and our firm belief that collectively we can build diverse talent pipelines by addressing barriers to entry,” said Natasha Soobramanie, principal, EDI & Talent Development at BGO. “We are delighted for Silas as a scholarship recipient and look forward to his ongoing professional contributions to the industry.”

Detlev Zwick, Schulich dean, said “Schulich is grateful for companies like BGO who share our commitment to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of its programs and we look forward to supporting more students like Silas on their journey to success.”

To learn more about championing student support, please contact Schulich’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at