2018 Newsletters

Winter 2018

Message from the Chair – Jack Bergen ‘77

It is with both sadness and a grateful heart that I write my last Message from the Chair.  I’ve been fortunate to have served as an officer in GALA for the past six years.  During this time, I’ve met so many wonderful, caring, passionate and generous people associated with our two schools.  I’ve traveled around the US meeting alums in many cities to hear your wonderful stories of life on campus and beyond.  I have been so impressed by the camaraderie shared within our community, both as Domers and Belles, but also as determined LGBTQ individuals who want to make things better for the next generation.

I am proud of the many fun and rewarding activities we’ve had, and of the accomplishments we’ve made as a group.  We are now well on our way to completing the Five-Year LGBT Student Scholarship Campaign with over $115,000 in donations toward the $250,000 goal.  Also, through the great work of a group of local alums, we now have a strong and active chapter in New York City.  Using them as a model, we can continue to expand this network of local chapters to DC, LA, Chicago and beyond. 

My only regret is that we have not been able to solidify our relationship with the University.  Our community has so much to offer to strengthen the bond between ND and its alumni.  I remain optimistic that we will be successful in the future to make this happen.

Finally, I want to thank the current officers for their hard work and putting up with me, and all of you who have come to events, donated generously and provided your encouragement and support along the way.  I am so pleased to pass the baton to a new group of young and diverse alums serving as your officers for the next two years.  I wish them the very best, and will continue to be actively involved as needed.  GO IRISH!!  

Officer Elections – Vote Now Through March 15th

Elections for the 2018-2020 slate of officers is happing now.  All current dues-paying members are eligible to participate.  Now is a perfect opportunity to either renew your membership or sign up to be a contributing member here to vote!

To see the bios of each of the candidates and to vote (through March 15th), go to: 2018 GALA Officer Voting.    

Note:  There is still one open position that needs filling:  Vice Chair-Programs.  To volunteer for this role, contact out-going chair Jack Bergen at jack.bergen@yahoo.com.

Alumni Feedback and Response

In December, we asked for member feedback regarding our group’s relationship with the University.  To-date, we have head from several of you but would like to hear from more.   Send your feedback to info@galandsmc.org  with your name, class year and indicate if we may share this with the NDAA. 

Also, we would like to thank everyone who made donations to the LGBT Student Scholarship Fund in lieu giving to the University directly.  During December ’17, members donated over $10,000 to the scholarship fund.  Action does speak louder than words.  Keep it up!!

Activities on Campus:

LGBTQ Resource Fair – February 8, 2018

On February 8th, a LGBTQ Resource Fair was held at St Mary’s. The fair featured many LGBT groups from both ND & SMC campuses and from the local South Bend community.   This event was the vision of Sushi Le SMC ‘20, the 2017-2018 GALA LGBT Scholarship Recipient, who coordinated the event with the school and the many groups who attended.  Representing GALA at the fair were Mary Porter and Lisa Karle who provided info about our group and the student scholarship.  A special shout out to SAGA and Saint Mary’s for sponsoring the event.  The event got a great write-up in the Observer.

ND Transgender Awareness Panel – March 20, 2018

The Gender Relations Committee in Student Government at Notre Dame is sponsoring an event to promote conversation and awareness around transgender experiences.  The event will feature a panel of members from the transgender community and allies.   GALA ND/SMC is happy to be one of the co-sponsors of the event. 

ND Graduate Student Union Panel Navigating – Sexuality, Gender and Race in the Job Market – April, 2018 – Panel Participants Needed!

The ND Graduate Student Union is scheduling a panel discussion on navigating issues of sexuality (as well as gender and race) in the job market– in particular networking, interviews, job talks, and classroom presentation. They are looking for 3-5 “out” alumni/ae of all genders who would be willing to speak about these issues to an audience of graduate students. The panel would take place during a weekday in early April.  If interested, contact Caitlin Smith, GSU Professional Development Chair at Caitlin.B.Smith.1023@nd.edu


GALA ND/SMC DCArea LGBT Alumni Social – Sunday March 11, 2018 – 3:00pm

GALA will be holding an Alumni Social on Sunday March 11th to bring together DC Area Alums & Friends.  This will be a casual get-together of light appetizers and drinks. The event is hosted by Bob Davidson ’76 at his beautiful home in Chevy Chase MD.  Come and join other alums to catch up and talk about future events and activities in the area.

The event will start at 3:00pm and run until 6:00pm. Bob’s home is located at 4308 Stanford St, Chevy Chase MD, 20815.  There is plenty of on-street parking and is a short walk from the local Metro stop (Bethesda Station) using the Red Line.

Our host will be providing the main food and beverages, and invites guests to bring an appetizer or light dessert “pot-luck” style if they desire.  For more info and to register, go to GALA DC Alumni Social or email Bob directly at Robertdcc@Gmail.com.

Alumni ReunionWeekend at Both ND and SMC – May 31st – June 3rd, 2018 – Panel Participants Needed!


Come reminisce with old friends and make some new ones back in South Bend.  Once again, GALA will be hosting a panel-style seminar on both ND & SMC campuses featuring alums and others sharing stories of LGBT life on campus.  If you are interested in participating on either of the panels, please contact Ram Ballesteros at rballest@alumni.nd.edu.


Second Annual NYC Christmas Party – Friday December 15, 2017

On Friday December 15th, a group of alums in New York City celebrated Christmas with a wonderful holiday party.  The group gathered at John Flanagan’s home for drinks and delicious food.  Everyone had a great time, and in the holiday spirit they raised over $800 for two charities (LGBT Student Scholarship Fund and Midnight Run). 

Midnight Run – Thursday January 11, 2018

Everything isn’t just about partying in NYC.  To start off the year on a bright note, a group of alums and friends participated in their second Midnight Run on Thursday January 11th to help the homeless in NYC.  Everyone met at John Flanagan’s home in Harlem to prepare sandwiches.  They then loaded into a van for a trip around the city distributing food and clothing.  Thanks to everyone who helped out!



2018 Membership Drive – Join or Renew

GALA relies upon your paid membership to support a number of different activities throughout the year.  These include helping to fund LGBT student activities, the Tom Dooley Award event, regional gatherings and on-campus events such as the annual reunion panel and fall tailgater.  Please consider either becoming a “dues-paying” member or continuing as one when your renewal comes due.  Go here:  GALA Membership

Also available are “enhanced membership” levels which include an automatic donation to the LGBT Student Scholarship Fund.  Almost 30% of our paid memberships are at these enhanced levels.  Join your fellow alums supporting our organization today!!  For question on membership, contact Vice-Chair of Membership Ram Ballesteros at membership@galandsmc.org.

Notre Dame Day – 2018

Once again Notre Dame will be holding a 24-hour celebration in April called Notre Dame Day.  For the past two years, many GALA members contributed to PrismND, the official LGBTQ student organization, by everyone donating just $10!  Let’s try to outdo ourselves this year!  Keep an eye out for the communication from ND and look for our postings on Facebook for the link to contribute.