Homecoming 2006

(Williamsburg) William and Mary Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae (W&M GALA) celebrated its 20th anniversary at a reception and banquet at the Patrick Henry Inn in Williamsburg during the College’s 2006 Homecoming Weekend. During the evening, the crowd was addressed by the President of the College, a member of the Board of Visitors, GALA leaders, and a member of the GLBT student community. GALA also announced the successful conclusion of its $100,000 fund raising campaign for the Richard Cornish Endowment Fund (for gay and lesbian resources) at the College’s Earl Gregg Swem Library.
.


.

William and Mary GALA Celebrates 20th Anniversary,
Completion of Major Fund Raising Drive

(Williamsburg) William and Mary Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae (W&M GALA) celebrated its 20th anniversary at a reception and banquet at the Patrick Henry Inn in Williamsburg during the College’s 2006 Homecoming Weekend. During the evening, the crowd was addressed by the President of the College, a member of the Board of Visitors, GALA leaders, and a member of the GLBT student community. GALA also announced the successful conclusion of its $100,000 fund raising campaign for the Richard Cornish Endowment Fund (for gay and lesbian resources) at the College’s Earl Gregg Swem Library.

In what was acknowledged as a bold step forward, William and Mary’s President Gene Nichol addressed the organization and embraced William and Mary GALA as a vital part of his commitment to diversity at William and Mary. At the first ever address to GALA by a President of the College, Nichol challenged W&M GALA and the William and Mary GLBT community to become an even more important part of the future of the College.

The anniversary dinner was attended by more than sixty people, including GALA members, their guests, student leaders, and several officials from the College administration. A major highlight of the evening was GALA’s announcement that it has met and surpassed its $100,000 fundraising goal for the Richard Cornish Endowment Fund. In his remarks announcing the fundraising success, Stephen H. Snell ’66, acknowledged all those from the administration and Swem Library who gave significant support to GALA’s efforts on this initiative, and thanked the many donors who made the Fund a reality.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Jeffrey Trammell ’73, a member of the College’s Board of Visitors and the first openly gay member of that body since the College’s founding in 1693. Trammell reviewed reaction to his first year of serving on the Board of Visitors and called for support for establishing an endowment for a John Boswell Chair at William and Mary. Dr. John E. Boswell ’69, was a noted scholar in dealing with the history of sexuality, and with “gay” history especially. He was a pioneer in these fields, breaking new ground in historiography. He died in 1994 and was an early member of William and Mary GALA. (Currently GALA supports the Annual John Boswell Lecture at the College.) Trammel took several questions from the audience before concluding his remarks.

Former W&M GALA President Joseph Price ’93, then presented Trammell with the Directors’ Cup, in recognition of his 25 year career in public service and governmental affairs, a career which included high level responsibilities in both the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns. The W&M GALA Directors’ Cup Award recognizes an openly gay or lesbian alumnus/a of the College whose professional accomplishments, as recognized by their peers, place him or her at the top of their respective field.

William and Mary GALA Founder, Stephen Snell, then presented the Founder’s Cup to Dr. George D. Greenia in recognition of his over 25 years of service to William and Mary’s GLBT community. Dr. Greenia has been a courageous leader in the College community, and organized the first support group for undergraduate students struggling with an emerging gay identity. The Founder’s Cup recognizes an openly gay or lesbian individual who has rendered significant service to GALA and/or the College GLBT community; someone who has, over the course of years, shown commitment and dedication above and beyond expectations.

In his concluding remarks, current W&M GALA President Wayne Curtis, ’82, recounted many of the recent initiatives the GALA Board has instituted to address future needs, including the institution of new Friends and Corporate membership categories, and the launching of a Student Grant program through which several student-run projects have already received financial support directly from GALA. “No minority group in the history of this nation,” concluded Curtis, “ever achieved equal protection under the law by waiting patiently for it to be handed to them. They pushed, they fought, they persuaded, they persevered — and when they achieved their goals they could credit their own efforts as being the primary engine of their progress, not the condescending benevolence of their former persecutors.” He went on to insist that GALA will continue to pursue this progress in whatever ways possible. The evening ended with an eloquent celebratory toast led by current undergraduate Richael Faithful, ’06, appreciating GALA’s accomplishments and challenging us all to continue that success in the future.

W&M GALA’s Homecoming activities opened Friday evening of Homecoming Weekend with the sixth annual William and Mary GALA Film Screening, an evening spent viewing a series of shorts films by independent gay and lesbian film makers. About 65 alumni, students, faculty, and guests attended the opening reception followed by seven short films that were very well received. The highlight of this year’s festival was the hilarious “Brokeback Screen Tests” by emerging director/screenwriter Bryan Horch. Its presentation at William and Mary was only the second public screening since its release. This year’s Film Festival was noted for its achieving a new level of professionalism, under co-producers Michael Rogan ’81, and Rob Sherman ’83, that will ensure its place as a central event for future Homecoming weekends at William and Mary.

Throughout the weekend GALA maintained a hospitality suite well stocked with drink and snacks as we do every year. It was very popular especially in the evenings after the other events. The weekend concluded with brunch at a restaurant near our official hotel.

%d bloggers like this: