Bernard D. Mayes Award

This prestigious award recognizes notable alumni and faculty who have contributed positively to advancing LGBTQ causes both within the University community and beyond. Established in 1999 in honor of the late Bernard D. Mayes, former Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the award was given to him at the 1st Annual Serpentine Society Fall Weekend and Awards Gala on October 30, 1999 for his lifetime support of LGBTQ students at the University. It is presented each year at the Serpentine Society’s Fall Gala. Prior year recipients are listed below.


2017 Recipient

Bob Elkins 

Bob Elkins serves as an IT Category Manager in Strategic Sourcing at Caesars Entertainment, a global leader in gaming and hospitality. He is a member of the company’s LGBTQ business resource group, EQUAL and represented it at the National Gay and Lesbian Chambers of Commerce annual conference, held this year at Caesars Palace.

Previously, Bob served as CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, a community-based organization founded in 1992. In this role, Bob managed all programs and services; financial, IT and human resource management; external fundraising and marketing; and represented the organization in public relations and community outreach.

Prior to moving to Las Vegas, Bob served as director of business development at AT&T Interactive in Los Angeles where he managed the company’s strategic relationships with tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. In 2008, he joined LEAGUE at AT&T, the company’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group and the oldest in the nation. Bob was elected president of LEAGUE’s At-Large chapter in 2009 and National Board Treasurer in 2010.

At Kintera, he developed best in class alumni engagement solutions for leading colleges and universities, including U.Va. Earlier positions in the technology sector included VP of Business Operations at USSearch.com, director of Internet Business at Packard Bell NEC, director of marketing at Techmedia Computer Systems, and senior manager for executive reporting systems at PCMall.

In 1989, three years after testing positive, Bob moved to San Francisco to join the fight against AIDS. He began fundraising for Project Inform, the national leader in HIV treatment education, first as a volunteer and later as the group’s development director. Project Inform was instrumental in forcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a “parallel track” of compassionate use of experimental drugs for patients with life-threatening illnesses.

Bob served the boards of the 9-county AIDS Service Providers Association of the Bay Area and the DC-based AIDS National Interfaith Network. He worked alongside Cleve Jones and Ken Jones, two of the brilliant heroes portrayed in ABC’s mini-series “When We Rise.” In 1990, Bob co-produced the first-ever inter-faith worship service at an International Conference on AIDS, at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral.

In New York from 1987 until 1989, Bob was an assistant vice president at Sanwa Bank where he had responsibility for a billion dollar portfolio of syndicated corporate loans. He began his career as a commercial banking officer in 1983 with The First National Bank of Chicago, spending three years in Hong Kong before returning to manage the Asian headquartered bank in New York.

Bob earned his MBA in International Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1983 and attended the Chinese University of Hong Kong for a semester abroad in 1982.

Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Bob received a BA Cum Laude from the University in 1979 in East Asian Studies On grounds, he was president of the Gay Student Union, co-chair of the Counselors Committee on Human Sexuality and a member of Resident Staff for 3 years, including serving as First-Year Resident Staff Co-Chair.

In the fall of 1976, Bob unwittingly became the subject of national press coverage over his role as an openly gay RA when then President Frank L. Hereford sought to remove Bob from his position after this was reported on by the Cavalier Daily and released nationwide. Hereford then convened a committee of faculty, students and administrators to investigate and determine the suitability of an openly ‘homosexual’ RA. After weeks of hearings, the tide of public opinion shifted to supporting Elkins, primarily due to the Black Student Alliance president announcing full support of Bob’s remaining an RA, stating that discrimination against any person, for any reason, will not be tolerated.

As a lifetime member of the U.Va. Alumni Association, Bob served on the board of directors of the U.Va. Club of Los Angeles from 2003 to 2013. He joined the board of the Serpentine Society in 2002 and served in myriad roles, including board president, secretary, treasurer and development committee chair through 2016.

Bob resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with his husband, Mark Hoyer, who is a Wig Stylist and Makeup Artist with Cirque du Soleil’s production of “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage Resort and Casino.

 


2016 Recipients

 professional-photo-vmlVictoria Lill

From 2010  to 2011, Victoria served as a staff attorney at Whitman Walker Health’s (WWH) Legal Services Program, which specializes in service to those living with HIV and AIDS in the Metro DC area, as well as the LGBTQ community at large.  While at WWH, Victoria represented more than 50 transgender clients seeking name and/or gender marker changes on identity documentation issued by federal, state and local agencies.  She successfully obtained grants of asylum for 2 male-to-female transgender immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who sought asylum in the United States due to their fear of persecution in their home countries based on their transgender status. 

In 2011, Victoria joined Hogan Lovells as an Associate in their D.C. office, where she continued her work on behalf of the transgender community on a pro bono basis, partnering with WWH to establish the monthly Name and Gender Change Clinic designed to serve the local transgender population in need of pro bono representation with name and/or gender marker changes on identity documentation.  Victoria has served as a supervising attorney at the Name and Gender Change Clinic through 2015 and has helped WWH staff train hundreds of local attorney volunteers on how to legally change names and gender markers in MD, DC and VA.  In 2013, Victoria received Hogan Lovells’ Citizenship Award for her pro bono work with the transgender community.

In 2014, Victoria joined the Educational Opportunities Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, where she enforces federal anti-discrimination laws in the education context, including those that protect LGBT students.  She was a key member of the Department’s team of lawyers who supported a transgender boy, Gavin Grimm, in his dispute with the Gloucester County School Board over his right to use the restroom facilities that correspond with his gender identity.  Victoria also serves on the Civil Right’s Divisions LGBTI Working Group.  She continues to volunteer at WWH’s Name and Gender Change Clinic.


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CARTER COVINGTON

Carter Covington is a writer/producer/showrunner who’s work includes GREEK, HART OF DIXIE, and 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU which he adapted for the small screen. In addition, Carter has been a longtime volunteer and supporter of The Trevor Project, a crisis hotline for at-risk LGBTQAI youth. Volunteering there inspired his most recent venture: MTV’s FAKING IT, the critically-acclaimed comedy that featured television’s first intersex lead character, and groundbreaking storylines around sexuality and gender. Over the show’s three seasons, it received three GLAAD award nominations for Best Comedy and won a Teen Choice Award for Breakout Show. It was also the first TV series to be awarded a key to The City of West Hollywood. It’s message of tolerance and inclusion aired in over 200 countries worldwide including on MTV Russia.

A Winston-Salem, North Carolina native, Covington lives in Los Angeles with his husband Sean, son Mac, dog Pepper, and cat Kinky.

2015

 

Claire Naomi Kaplan, Ph.D.
Curry School of Education ’04
Troy, VA

Claire Kaplan, Ph.D., is director of the Gender Violence and Social Change Program at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. A self-described “late bloomer,” Claire came out to herself and the world when she was 29 years old, following many years of progressive/feminist social justice activism.

A California native, she moved to Spotsylvania, Virginia in 1989 with her now-wife, Lisa J. Berke and seven cats, to direct a national grassroots anti-rape organization. She then worked as a reporter for a small cable news station in Fredericksburg, until she was hired as the University’s first full-time Sexual Assault Education Coordinator in 1991 (which evolved into the Gender Violence and Social Change Program at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center).

Claire received her BS from the University of California at Davis (Environmental Design and Animal Behavior), her Masters Degree in Professional Writing (screenplay and non-fiction) at the University of Southern California, and her Ph.D. in Education from UVa in 2004. Her doctoral research focused on undergraduate campus feminist activists and their ability to sustain their activism after graduation.

Claire is rarely shy about speaking up, and quickly found the LGBTQ community at the University when she arrived. One of Claire’s earliest UVa memories was the historic and emotional moment when a group of faculty and staff met to launch UVa Pride (the faculty, staff and graduate student association) in 1991. In the mid-1990s, she served as the group’s co-convener with History professor Nick Edsall.

Claire was deeply involved in the long-term struggle to achieve equity for same-sex couples at the University, meeting regularly with senior administrators to gain official recognition of our families, in order to get health benefits for partners and children, and family memberships to the AFC. Claire was also involved with the committee that worked with the University to open the LGBTQ Center, served on the board of the Serpentine Society, and worked with student sexual assault peer education organizations to become more inclusive of LGBTQI people as well as all marginalized groups.

Among her publications are: “Domestic Violence–Intimate Partner Violence,” (Emergency Medicine Specialty Reports, 2006); “Shattered Pride: Resistance and Intervention Strategies in Cases of Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, and Hate Crimes Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Students,” in Toward Acceptance: Sexual Orientation on Campus, edited by Nancy Evans and Vernon Wall (University Press of America: 2000), and “A Mother’s Loss: Reflections on the Sharon Bottoms Decision,” for In Other Words, Winter, 1993. She also was film critic and feature writer in Women’s Arts for The Washington Blade from March 1991 to 1993.

These days Claire lives with her wife, Lisa J. Berke, and their daughter Sammy in Louisa County. She has determined to reclaim her creative self by taking classes in stained glass, mosaic, and glass blowing, and hopes to finish her children’s book before too many decades have passed.

 


Previous Award Winners

 

2014

Sharon McGowan
College ’95
Takoma Park, Md

2013

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga
Law ’74
Richmond, VA

2013

Holiday Simmons

Holiday Simmons
College ’00
Atlanta, GA

2012

Will Trinkle

Will Trinkle
College ’81
Roanoke, VA

2011

Michael Guest

Michael Guest
GSAS ’81
Washington, DC

2010

Jesse Gilliam

Jesse Gilliam
College ’99
Seattle, WA

2010

Maria K. Pulzetti

Maria K. Pulzetti
College ’99
Philadelphia, PA

2009

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke
College ’84
Charlottesville, VA

2008

Matt Paco

Matt Paco
College ’95
New York, NY

2007

Richard Babson

Richard L. Babson
College ’81
Boston, MA

2006

Charlotte J. Patterson
UVa Faculty
Charlottesville, VA

2005

K. Scottie Ginn

K. Scottie Ginn
SEAS ’80
Lagrangeville, NY

2004

Nancy Andrews

Nancy Andrews
College ’86
Detroit, MI

2003

Joe Baker

Joe Baker
Law ’87
New York, NY

 2002

Richard P. Keeling

Richard P. Keeling, MD
College ’69
New York, NY

2001

Robert Witeck

Robert Witeck
College ’74
Washington, DC

2000

Michelle Benecke

Michelle Benecke
College ’83
Arlington, VA

1999

Bernard D. Mayes

Bernard D. Mayes
UVa College of Arts & Sciences
Faculty (1984-1999)