Congratulations to the Bill Cowan Alum of the Year 2019

By Emily McAuliffe

A record 350 alumni flocked to the College Oak tree on Friday night for Trinity’s Drinks Under the Oak, an annual event enjoyed by Residential College alumni spanning seven decades.

A highlight of the evening was the awarding of the Bill Cowan Alum of the Year 2019, an award that recognises an alumnus or alumna who has made an outstanding contribution to Trinity or the greater community during the previous year. Past winners include the Honourable Justice Geoffrey Nettle AC (TC 1974), and human rights lawyer and Victorian of the Year 2016, Julian McMahon (TC 1986).

This year’s award went to Kay Goldsworthy AO, who trained in theology as a resident of Trinity from 1980 to 1983. Kay has gone on to become a role model for female leaders in the church in Australia and around the world, and has inspired many more with her determination to follow her own career path, regardless of how challenging it would be. 

In February 2018, Kay was installed as the 8thArchbishop of Perth, making her the first woman in the world to hold the title of archbishop in the Anglican Communion. Prior to this, Kay was also one of the first women to be ordained a deacon (1986), a priest (1992) and a bishop (2008). Kay was awarded an Order of Australia for her service to religion through the Anglican Church of Australia and as a female pioneer and role model. 

Despite her lengthy list of accolades, Kay remains humble in her success. ‘Winning this award came as a complete surprise,’ she says. ‘There are so many Trinity alumni doing incredible things that I wouldn’t have expected to even end up on this list. I just do what I do and often it’s about putting one foot in front of the other to do what you need to do in life.’ 

Kay notes that she met many of her dearest friends at Trinity College and it was during her time at Trinity that she came to appreciate the incredible breadth of interests people had and the fascinating fields they gave themselves to.

As something of an ‘accidental leader’ (given Kay also hadn’t anticipated that she would one day become an archbishop), Kay’s advice to her fellow Trinity alumni is to be persistent and patient and to embrace community. ‘It’s important that we learn alongside each other,’ she says. ‘There’s a real sense of community support amongst the alumni at Trinity, and together, even if our footsteps falter, we can act as drawstrings for each other.’

The Alum of the Year award is named in honour of Bill Cowan, who was the chairman of the Trinity College Board from 2006–13 and currently serves on the Fellow’s Committee. He remains a fervent supporter of our students and alumni. 

Pictured: Scott Charles, Director of Advancement; Kay Goldsworthy AO; Bill Cowan, former Chairman of the Board; Prof Ken Hinchcliff, Warden and CEO

26 Feb 2019