2022 LGBTQ+ Leadership Award Weekend

On April 8 -10, 2022, GALA ND/SMC and ARC ND hosted a weekend celebration on ND’s campus honoring the legacy of LGBTQ+ alums and the transition to a new chapter: “ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Past, Present & Future – A Celebration of Our Community’s Journey”.

The weekend included a welcome reception, alumni panel and the weekend signature event: Thomas Dooley & LGBTQ+ Leadership Award Ceremony. Alums came from around the country to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Honored at the award ceremony were Marlo Thomas, Fr Joe Corpora ’76 C.S.C., Meghan Buell & Greg Bourke ’82.

For more information, and many images of the weekend, go to: 2022 LGBTQ+ Leadership Award Weekend.

Registration is Now Open for LGBTQ+ Awards Weekend

Registration is now open for the weekend celebration honoring the legacy of LGBTQ+ alums and the transition to a new chapter: “ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Past, Present & Future – A Celebration of Our Community’s Journey” April 8 – 10, 2022.

To register for all events including the Friday evening Alumni/Student Networking event, Saturday afternoon Alumni Panel, Saturday Night Dinner/Award Ceremony, go to:  LGBTQ+ Weekend Celebration

LGBTQ+ Student Scholarship Under University Management

The LGBTQ+ Student Scholarship originally established under GALA, and funded by our members, has been migrated to the University to take advantage of their professional investment resources.  The beneficiaries of this scholarship will continue to be qualifying LGBTQ+ students at Notre Dame.

If you would like to contribute to the scholarship, please make a donation here.  This link goes to the ND development website enabling you to make a direct to the scholarship (scroll down to enter in the donation amount).

Note:  Donations made to this university managed fund will be eligible for football ticket lottery purposes.

ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Past, Present & Future: A Celebration of Our Community’s Journey


GALA ND/SMC and ARC ND are pleased to host a weekend of celebration honoring the legacy of LGBTQ+ alums and the transition to a new chapter: “ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Past, Present & Future – A Celebration of Our Community’s Journey” April 8 – 10, 2022.

This weekend celebration will include the bi-annual Dooley Award ceremony (and other leadership awards) as well as several opportunities to engage with fellow alums, students and allies.  We encourage all everyone who has participated in this journey over the past 30+ years, as well as more recent alums, to join your fellow LGBTQ alums & friends for this fun and memorable celebration.

Weekend Events

Friday April 8th

  • Alumni/Student Networking Event – 7:00pm

Saturday April 9th

  • Academic Panel: “ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Honoring Our Community’s Journey” – 12:00pm
  • Awards Dinner/Ceremony – 6:30pm
  • Alumni Social – 10:30pm

Sunday April 10th

  • Mass – 10:00am
  • Brunch – 11:30am

REGISTER HERE:  2022 LGBTQ Alumni Weekend

Tom Dooley & Other Award Recipients Announced

GALA ND/SMC & ARC ND are proud to announce the 2022 LGBTQ Leadership Award recipients.

  • Thomas A. Dooley Award – Marlo Thomas
  • Distinguished Alumni Award – Greg Bourke ‘82
  • Larry Condren Distinguished Service Award – Meghan Buell
  • Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award in Support of the ND LGBTQ+ Campus Community – Rev. Joe Corpora ’76, C.S.C.

The awards event will be part of an overall weekend of activities Friday April 8th – Sunday April 10th.  For more information on each award recipient, go to: 2022 LGBTQ Awards.

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas LGBTQ Student Scholarship

As GALA prepares to transition to a university approved alumni affinity group, ARC ND (Alumni Rainbow Community), one of the key aspects of the transition is the disposition of the member-funded LGBTQ scholarship.  One of our group’s proudest accomplishments has been the consistent financial assistance that we have been able to offer students with the Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas LGBTQ Student Scholarship.  With your help, we have raised an amazing sum of $250,000!

In the next month, we intend to transition a significant portion of these funds to an endowment run by the university.   

What will change?

  • Fund management: Currently, the GALA leadership team manages the fund.   In the future, it will be managed by the university in the same manner as other university endowments.  
  • Fund growth: The GALA leadership team has taken a zero risk investment strategy with the scholarship funds. In the future, the scholarship fund will be invested to grow in the same manner as the university endowment. Over time, we expect the size of the scholarships as well as the number of scholarships to expand.       

What will stay the same?  

  • Recipients: Past winners have been ND and SMC undergraduates who are active in the LGBT+ community.   Future winners will be ND undergraduates who are active in the LGBT+ community.          
  • Who determines the recipients:  Past winners have been chosen by GALA leaders.   Future winners will be chosen by ARC ND leaders.

Comments, Questions, Concerns, Suggestions 

If you would like to speak with a GALA leader about this significant step, please contact Paul at ptxburke@yahoo.com, and he will connect you with a GALA leader.  We will like all feedback by December 8th

What’s Next?

It has taken 25+ years to build GALA, and we are being diligent in our approach to unwind. In the new year, expect to see an update on membership votes that are needed to sunset the organization.

The GALA leadership team is so proud of what we have accomplished together.  Throughout this process, we have prioritized transparency and inclusivity.  As we have had updates, we have been providing them.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out at any time.

ND announces new LGBTQ+ Alumni Group


For the past 18 months, members of the GALA-ND/SMC leadership team have met with the Notre Dame Alumni Association as part of an LGBTQ+ task force.  Through consistent communication and heartfelt discussions, the group charted a path to form an officially recognized LGBTQ+ alumni affinity group which will be called the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame (ARC ND). Today, the creation of ARC ND is being announced.   The group will start recruiting members this fall and build a leadership structure for an official launch in January 2022.  Under this new name and structure, ARC ND will continue the GALA-ND/SMC mission, which has served as a place for LGBTQ+ graduates, allies, and friends to celebrate community, support students, and build bridges since its inception. GALA-ND/SMC Board of Trustees member Jack Bergen notes “The efforts of the current GALA leadership and the LGBTQ+ task force are the culmination of decades worth of work in building relationships with the university.  With the creation of ARC ND, LGBTQ+ alumni will be even bettered positioned to support and collaborate with all the LGBTQ+ members of the Notre Dame community.

Paul Burke, current GALA-ND/SMC chair, shares, “I want to thank the Notre Dame Alumni Association for making this historic decision.  I also want to thank every GALA-ND/SMC leader and member who built this organization and helped it thrive.  Whether you increased awareness of LGBTQ+ issues on campus or locally, raised money to support students in need, or joined the community in solidarity of the mission, you have paved the way that resulted in today’s exciting announcement.   While this community has positively impacted many, we have a new organization to build, ARC ND.   The GALA-ND/SMC officers and board are excited to support ARC ND and to join the NDAA family.   Together, we know that we will build an inclusive community that makes everyone proud.”   

“For more than two decades, GALA-ND/SMC has played a valuable role in building community and helping LGBTQ+ alumni and friends connect with one another and the University,” said Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “Our team is grateful for the work and counsel of the GALA-ND/SMC leadership and task force over the past year and a half. Our candid conversations and constructive dialogue have led us to today’s announcement and we look forward to working together to continue to build ARC ND and to cultivate an inclusive and supportive community for our LGBTQ+ alumni and all members of the ND family.”

In the coming months, GALA-ND/SMC leadership will propose a transition plan to sunset GALA-ND/SMC and ensure the success of ARC ND.  Membership feedback will continue to be elicited as this plan is finalized over the next few months.  As a reminder, our constitution states that only dues paying members vote.   If you are interested in participating in the upcoming vote, please confirm that you are a dues paying member.

We are sure that you have questions.  Find answers to some FAQs 

Have questions that haven’t been answered? Email questions to membership@galandsmc.org

For more information about ARC ND, please visit arc.undgroup.org

We hope that you are having a great pride month and are excited about today’s announcement.

It is a great day to be Irish,

the GALA-ND/SMC officers and board


LGBTQ Scholarship Goal Achieved in 2020

$250,000 Five-Year Goal Achieved in 2020!

In 2015, GALA ND/SMC established a scholarship to support LGBTQ students attending Notre Dame & Saint Mary’s, now known as the The Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas LGBTQ Student Scholarship.  To date, 12 students have received assistance from this scholarship fund.

A goal was set to raise $250,000 by the end of 2020.  Congratulations!!!  Thanks to everyone who participated in our scholarship benefit events and donated to this important cause, we have achieved this major milestone!  

For more information on the scholarship, including the students who have benefited from the annual awards, go to LGBTQ Scholarship.  

PRIDE like a Champion

Even though COVID-19 rained on your parade, your PRIDE calendar is packed, so CELEBRATE all month 


 June 11th  New Mentorship program launches

ND alum will receive an email from GALA-ND/SMC to register with Irish Compass.   Matching occurs June 22nd.   Tools and aids will be shared at the end of the month.


June 12th  BLM fundraising on Facebook

Submit your charities of choice

Vote for your favorite

Donate all month long to Black Lives Matter South Bend


June 19th Scholarship Recipients Announced 

This year, we had a record number of applicants…but the selection committee could only choose two.  Meet the 2020/21 recipients and celebrate their success!



June 24th 8pm EST

Webinar: LGBTQ Student Life on Campus

Wonder how LGBTQ student life has changed since your graduation?   Catch up on today’s tea with a very special speaker for this extravaganza.  Zoom invite and details are on the Facebook GALA-ND/SMC page.

A Memorial Day Message



Members of our LGBTQ family have served and fallen in the service of the United States of America.

On June 7, 2016, the Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, issued the following message in honor of LGBT Pride Month:
“This month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, an occasion that brings the LGBT community together with their family, friends and allies to take pride in themselves and their many achievements. The Department of Defense recognizes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender servicemembers and civilians for their dedicated service to the Department and the nation.
Throughout our history, brave LGBT soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines have served and fought for our nation. Their readiness and willingness to serve has made our military stronger and our nation safer. We continue to take great pride in all that these men and women contribute to the Department and our mission. Their hard work, courage and sacrifices make them respected members of our diverse DoD family.
Through their service these Americans help ensure that we as a force embody the values we’re sworn to uphold. And that our republic, born from the idea that all are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness, will remain strong and secure. These words are more than a pinnacle to strive for, they are principles we must promote every day.
As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month together, let us take pride in all who step forward to serve our country. All who answer the call to service are doing the noblest thing they can do with their lives, to provide the security for others so they can dream their dreams, raise their children, and live full lives.”

This Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, let’s honor and celebrate our LGBTQ family members who have died while serving in the U.S. Military.

GALA ND/SMC Leadership Changes

The 2020 GALA ND/SMC Officer elections are now completed. Thanks to everyone who voted and congratulations to the new officer team!  All of the new officers bring unique skills and enthusiasm to engage our LGBTQ Alumni & Friends community.  

2020-2022 Officers

  • Chair – Paul Burke ’98
  • Vice Chair – Programs – John Flanagan ND ’93
  • Vice Chair- Membership – John McDonald-O’Lear ND ’78
  • Treasurer – Grant Van Eaton ND ’08
  • Secretary – Mike Gorman ND ’81

To see each of their bios, go to 2020-2022 Officers. The new officers will assume responsibility effective immediately as they transition from the prior officer team.

2020 Officer Elections – Open Through March 1, 2020

It is election time for GALA-ND/SMC Officers for 2020-2022. Each position is up for re-election.  All dues-paying member are eligible to vote.  Shown below are the positions and individuals seeking each position. For information on each candidate, see 2020 Officer Election Bios.


  • Chair – Paul Burke ND ’98
  • Vice Chair- Membership – John McDonald-O’Lear ND ’78
  • Vice Chair – Programs – John Flanagan ND ’93
  • Treasurer – Grant Van Eaton ND ’08
  • Secretary – Mike Gorman ND ’81

Voting:  To vote, go to: GALA ND/SMC 2020 Officer Elections.  Please select one candidate for each position.  Voting will be open until March 1st.

2020 – 2022 Officer Elections – Nominations Now Closed

Every two years GALA ND/SMC conducts elections for all officer positions.  In 2020, elections will be taking place in the February/March timeframe.  Prior to that, we are looking for nominations for individuals to fill these roles by February 16th.  This is a great opportunity to take a leadership role in driving engagement for the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s LGBTQ Alumni & Friends community. 

The positions available are as follows:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair Program
  • Vice-Chair Membership
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary 

Formal position descriptions can be found at Mission and Vision by selecting the constitution link.  Regardless of the specific roles, all officers are encouraged to get involved in whatever way they feel they can make a difference.  The successfully elected individuals are asked to make a two-year commitment, participate on monthly officer calls and fulfill the responsibilities of the position (including attending major events).

Being part of the leadership team includes the following:

  • Playing a key role in helping to strengthen GALA’s relationships with many key partner organizations both on campus and around the country such as NDAA (ND Alumni Organization), PrismND & SAGA (LGBTQ Student Groups), Spectrum (LGBTQ Employee Resource Group), LGBTQ Law Forum and others.
  • Working in close collaboration with GALA’s board to establish goals, budgets and methods to achieve our group’s vision and mission.
  • Planning and executing member engagement activities, inclusive of all members, on campus and through local GALA chapters and local ND alumni clubs including the bi-annual Dooley Award Weekend, annual tailgaters & reunions, and other regional club events.
  • Managing the membership database and performing membership outreach to identify opportunities to be inclusive and expand the group’s members & friends community
  • Managing and leveraging various communication channels for member outreach, including GALA’s website, email, newsletters, social media, etc.
  • Participating in fundraising activities supporting both general/on-going engagement activities and for the LGBTQ Scholarship.

If you are interested in nominating a fellow alum or to self-nominate, please go to:  GALA Officer Nomination Form and complete by February 16th.  For current officer profiles, go to Officers

Fifth Annual NYC LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit – November 17, 2019

GALA ND/SMC held the Fifth Annual NYC LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit on Sunday November 17, 2019.  The benefit took place at Phil Donahue ’57 and his wife Marlo Thomas’ beautiful apartment overlooking Central Park.

The money raised at the event went to the LGBT Student Scholarship Fund which was created in the spring of 2015 to assist qualified LGBT undergraduate students of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame. Through the generosity of the alums and friends who attended we are now within ~10% of the $250,000 five-year campaign goal!!

The guest speaker at the benefit was 2019/2020 Scholarship Recipient César Moreno ND ’20.  César is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in Chemical Engineering, Neuroscience and Behavior, Pre-Med with a minor in Biomolecular Engineering.  They are currently studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico.  César shared their experiences at Notre Dame and their passion for helping others, especially those impacted by the more recent immigrant policies.  César also talked about the importance of the continued help from our LGBTQ alumni members both in supporting student’s efforts on campus as well as our on-going financial assistance.

For pictures of the event, go to:  2019 Scholarship Benefit.

GALA ND/SMC Names LGBTQ Scholarship For Iconic ND Grad Phil Donahue ’57 & His Wife, Actress & Social Activist, Marlo Thomas

GALA ND/SMC, the LGBTQ alumni/ae group for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, is pleased to announce the naming of its LGBTQ Student Scholarship to The Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas LGBTQ Student Scholarship.  The naming of the scholarship reflects the enormous contribution Phil and Marlo have made over the years to the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s LGBTQ community, and is a way of continuing their legacy well into the future.  In addition, it also recognizes the life-long commitment each of them has made to helping others through their various professional and personal contributions. 

Mr. Donahue and Ms. Thomas accepted this honor while hosting the Fifth Annual LGBTQ Scholarship Benefit at their home in NYC on Sunday November 17th.  Presenting the renaming were GALA Board Member Jack Bergen ’77 and GALA NYC Chapter Chair John Flanagan ’93, along with a group of LGBTQ alumni, friends and allies from the local NYC ND Alumni club.

For more information, go to:  Student Scholarship Announcement

Fifth Annual GALA ND/SMC NYC Alumni Fall Weekend November 15 – November 17, 2019

GALA ND/SMC is happy to sponsor our Fifth Annual New York City Alumni Fall Weekend from November 15 to November 17, 2019.  There are a number of planned events for GALA members and friends to enjoy over the weekend.  Registrations for the scholarship and dinner events will be closed on Tuesday Nov 12th!

For complete weekend information and to register for the events, go to:  2019 NYC Alumni Weekend.

  • Welcome DinnerFriday November 15th, 8:00PM – Crispo (240 West 14th Street Between 7th & 8th)
  • Game Watch Saturday November 16th, – The Ainsworth (East Village) – Kickoff 2:30pm
  • Celebration of MassSunday November 17th, – 11:30AM – St Francis Xavier
  • LGBTQ Student Scholarship Benefit Sunday November 17th, 4:00PM
  • After Party – Sunday November 17th, – 6:30pm to 9:00pm – Therapy

Fifth Annual NYC LGBTQ Student Scholarship Benefit – November 17, 2019

GALA ND/SMC is pleased to announce our Fifth Annual NYC LGBTQ Student Scholarship Benefit will be held Sunday November 17, 2019 at 4:00pm.  Join fellow alumni and friends for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and camaraderie to raise money for the LGBTQ Student Scholarship Fund

Registration Open Until November 12th

 This will be the final opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of our hosts Phil Donahue ’57 and his wife Marlo Thomas’ at their beautiful apartment overlooking Central Park.  Since the fund’s inception, members & friends have contributed over $175,000. Our goal for this year’s event is hit the $250,000 five-year target!

Be part of this historic event as we raise money supporting LGBTQ students like the 2019/2020 Scholarship Recipients César Moreno ND ’20 and Genesis Vasquez SMC ’20.

For more information and to register, go to:  2019 Scholarship Benefit.

2019/2020 LGBTQ Scholarship Recipients Announced

GALA ND/SMC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019/2020 LGBTQ Student Scholarships.  This year’s recipients are César Moreno ND ’20 and Genesis Vasquez SMC ’20.  Congratulations to both winners!

César is a senior at Notre Dame majoring in Chemical Engineering, Neuroscience and Behavior, Pre-Med with a minor in Biomolecular Engineering.  They are a member of the Balfour-Hesburgh Scholars Program.

Genesis is a senior at Saint Mary’s College majoring in Global Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies and a minor in Spanish.  She will be the first person in her family to graduate from college. 

For more information about each, including their contributions to the LGBTQ community, go to Scholarship Recipients.

To donate to the scholarship fund, go to:  LGBTQ Scholarship.