The Directors’ Cup
The Board of Directors of William and Mary GALA created the Directors’ Cup in 1993 and it was first awarded at Homecoming that year as part of the Tercentenary Celebration. The award recognizes an openly gay or lesbian alumni/ae of the College whose professional accomplishments, as recognized by their peers, place him or her at the top of their respective field. The Directors’ Cup has been awarded twice in the history of the organization.
The first recipient of the award (1993) was Christopher Bram. Chris is a well known screenwriter and novelist, whose works include Surprising Myself (1987), Hold Tight (1988), In Memory of Angel Clare (1989), Almost History (1992), Father of Frankenstein (1995) — which was made into the movie Gods and Monsters, starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser — Gossip (1997), The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life & Crimes (2000), Lives of the Circus Animals (2003), Exiles In America (2006), and Mapping the Territory (2009). Born in Buffalo, NY, Chris spent his early years in Kempsville, VA. He attended William and Mary and graduated in 1974 with a BA in English. He moved to New York in 1978 and currently resides there. Chris was an early member of GALA.
The second recipient of the award (2006) was Jeff Trammell. Jeff is a native of Tallahassee, Florida, and received his B.A. from the College, where he was an all-conference basketball player and captain of the William and Mary team. He received his J.D. from Florida State University while working in the Florida Legislature: the beginning of a 25 year career in public service and government affairs. He worked on the staffs of three members of the Florida Congressional delegation and with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, before joining the private sector. He ran Hill & Knowlton’s public affairs division for 12 years before starting his own firm. Having become established as one of the people to know in Washington, Trammell served as senior advisor and national co-chair of gay and lesbian outreach for the 2004 Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. In 2000 he chaired Business Leaders for Gore-Lieberman, spearheading an effort which secured some 3000 business leaders including many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
From 1998-2000, Jeff headed up gay and lesbian outreach for the Gore presidential campaign, and helped raise millions from gay and lesbian donors, both for the campaign and for the Democratic National Committee. Prior to assuming his role with Gore, Jeff chaired the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helped elect dozens of openly gay candidates across the country. He also was on the finance board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s gay and lesbian project, which raised million to research and commemorate the gay and lesbian victims of the Holocaust. In 2000 Jeff was awarded the Barney Frank National Leadership Award by the National Stonewall Democrats. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign and is currently on their public policy advisory committee. He was also the founding Chair of the Board of the Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program here at William and Mary. In 2005 Governor Mark Warner appointed Jeff as the first openly gay Member of the Board of Visitors, a milestone only surpassed in 2011, when Jeff was made Rector.
The third recipient of the award (2011) was Gary Cowling. Gary’s life thus far could really be summarized by one of those iconic headlines you see spinning onto the screen in old B movies…“Local Boy Makes It in Big Apple.” Raised in Newport News, Gary graduated from William and Mary in 1984 with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre and Speech. He then went on to earn a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from West Virginia University. WIth his degrees tucked under his arm and quite a bit of stage acting experience from mid-Atlantic theater companies, he headed for New York just six months after leaving WVU. Over the ensuing 25 years, Gary has painstakingly built an impressive resume and long list of theatrical credits, off Broadway, on Broadway, on Television and on the movie screen. He has earned recognition from his peers, and has displayed the kind of versatility and talent that explain why he has succeeded in one of the most competitive fields there is, particularly in the American artistic world.
But Gary’s story does not end there. Because at the same time that he was building the successful career just described, he also was dedicating his spare time over the last 20 years to a cause much greater. Gary has made the fight against AIDS and other HIV disease a major focus. As the organizer and chief cheerleader for the William and Mary Alumni Team, Gary has built that team into one of the most successful non-corporate teams that annually participate in AIDS Walk New York. In 2009, the W&M Team was honored as first place among collegiate teams in the walk. They have consistently placed in the top forty of ALL teams. And Gary, individually, has consistently placed in the top 50 — out of approximately 45,000 participants. Over the last twenty years, Team W&M has raised over one hundred and eighty six thousand dollars.