Bill Cowan Alum of the Year

The Bill Cowan Award for Alum of the Year recognises outstanding achievements by a Trinity alumnus or alumna.

With over 26,800 alumni from 50 countries around the world, this award recognises, acknowledges and promotes prominent alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to the College or achieved outstanding success in service to the wider community in the previous year.

The award is named in honour of Mr Bill Cowan who served as Chairman of the Board of the College from 2006–13, was a member of the Finance Committee from 1985, and who contributed his time and energy to countless endeavours in support of students both past and present.

The Alum of the Year Award is presented annually, and nominations opened in July. It is awarded in March at the Drinks Under the Oak alumni gathering.

Nominations for the 2019 award opened on 23 July 2018 and closed on Friday 25 January 2019.

The winner of the Bill Cowan Alum of the Year 2018 was Melissa Madden Gray (TC 1988) aka 'Meow Meow'.


All alumni of Trinity College are eligible to be nominated for an award. (Alumni refers to a male or female member of the College as defined in the College Constitution.)

Nominations for candidates to be considered for Alum of the Year may be submitted by a Trinity alumnus, alumna or a member of the wider community. All alumni of the College are eligible to nominate a candidate, and there is no limit as to the number of nominations that may be put forward. Alumni are permitted to nominate themselves for an award. Applications will be accepted only when submitted on the prescribed Alum of the Year Nomination Form.

For the 2019 award, all nomination forms were received by the Trinity College Alumni Office by Friday 25 January 2019 – for specific achievements during the period 1 January to 31 December 2018.

Selection Criteria

Recipients must be alumni of Trinity College and must have made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the wider community. This should be for a specific achievement during 2018.

Current staff and members of the Trinity Board or Union of the Fleur-de-Lys Committee are not eligible for an award (nominations for past members are permitted).

Award Judging Process

The winner is determined by a panel including:

  • the Warden of Trinity College;
  • the President of the Union of the Fleur-de-Lys; and
  • the Director of Advancement.

The award takes the form of a medal indicating the name of the award, the name of the recipient and the year in which the award is made. The name of the award winner is entered onto an Honour Board.

Award presentation

Award recipients are honoured at the annual Drinks Under the Oak event in February.

Past winners

2014 Award: Dr Jack Best AO (TC 1958). Read more

2015 Award: The Honourable Justice Geoffrey Nettle (TC 1974). Read more

2016 Award: Julian McMahon AC (TC 1986). Read more

2017 Award: Dr Lisa Gorton (TC 1990). Read more

2018 Award: Melissa Madden Gray (TC 1988).