Bill Cowan Alum of the Year

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

With over 30,000 alumni from over 50 countries around the world, this award recognises, acknowledges and promotes prominent Residential College alumni who have made an exceptional contribution to Trinity College or have 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 Trinity College from 2006–13, was a member of the Finance Committee from 1985, and who continues to contribute 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 is announced at the Drinks Under the Oak alumni gathering.

The winner of the Bill Cowan Alum of the Year 2023 was Nell Pierce (TC 2009).


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 may be submitted by a Trinity alumnus, alumna or a member of the wider community 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. There is a separate award for Foundation Studies alumni, titled the TCFS Alum of the Year award. 

Selection criteria

Recipients must be alumni of Trinity College and must have made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the wider community. The award recognises specific achievements during the period 1 January to 31 December of the preceding year. 

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
  • 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 listed on an honour board.

Award presentation

Award recipients are announced at the annual Drinks Under the Oak event.

Past winners

2022: Gillon McLachlan (TC 1994)

2021: Dr Brendan Murphy (TC 1973)

2020: Rona Glynn-McDonald (TC 2014)

2019: Kay Goldsworthy AO (TC 1980)

2018: Melissa Madden Gray (TC 1988)

2017: Dr Lisa Gorton (TC 1990)

2016: Julian McMahon AC (TC 1986)

2015: The Honourable Justice Geoffrey Nettle (TC 1974)

2014: Dr Jack Best AO (TC 1958)