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.
ARC ND (Alumni Rainbow Community), is the newly-formed, officially-sanctioned LGBTQ+ Alumni Affinity group, whose mission is to engage LGBTQ+ alums & friends under the ND Alumni Association umbrella. For more information on ARC ND, including to join this community, go to ARC ND.
Alumni/Student Networking Event – On Friday evening, an alumni/student “welcome event” was held giving alums & students the opportunity to network. Over 50 alums, students and friends joined together at Legends for a few drinks and to get acquainted.
Alumni Panel: “ND LGBTQ+ Alumni – Honoring Our Community’s Journey” – A “standing room only” crowd got together on Saturday afternoon to hear alums share their stories looking back at the decades of the LGBTQ+ community at Notre Dame, where we are now, and what the future brings. Panelists included:
- Tom Zahn ‘67
- David Pais ’72
- Lisa Karle ‘85
- Liam Dacey ‘04
- Grant Van Eaton ’08
Thomas Dooley & LGBTQ+ Leadership Award Ceremony – The main event for the weekend was the Thomas A. Dooley and LGBTQ+ Leadership Award ceremony. This event featured a cocktail reception, dinner and the conferring of awards. This year’s awards include:
Thomas A. Dooley Award
Marlo Thomas, an American actress, producer, author, and social activist. She is best known for starring on the sitcom That Girl (1966–1971) and her children’s franchise Free to Be… You and Me. She has received three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award for her work in television, has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Thomas serves as National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father Danny Thomas in 1962. She created the Thanks & Giving campaign in 2004 to support the hospital. In 2014, Marlo was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive, by President Barack Obama. Marlo has been a longtime advocate for the LGBTQ community and received the Excellence in Media Award at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000.
Ms. Thomas’ acceptance speech can be found at: 2022 Marlo Thomas Tom Dooley Award Acceptance Speech.
In recognition of her achievement, GALA bestowed a $1,000 donation in Ms. Thomas’ name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Greg Bourke ’82, one of the named plaintiffs (with his husband Michael De Leon) in the landmark US Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. Greg, and his husband, Michael De Leon ’01, have been partnered for over 39 years, and were legally married in 2004 in Ontario, Canada. Because of their fight for equality, they were named 2015 Persons of the Year by the National Catholic Reporter. Greg recently published his profoundly moving memoir Gay, Catholic, and American: My Legal Battle for Marriage Equality and Inclusion” about growing up gay and overcoming discrimination in the battle for same-sex marriage in the US.
Larry Condren Distinguished Service Award
Meghan Buell, Founder and Board President of Transgender Resource, Education & Enrichment Services – TREES, Inc., an organization with the mission of transgender education and resource building, focusing on small town and rural communities. She is a leader in the transgender community locally, regionally, and nationally. Meghan regularly presents at conferences and on college campuses on topics related to the transgender community including, healthcare, community services and workplace inclusion (including at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s for over 10 years). In addition to leading her organization, Meghan works as a public-school teacher in the South Bend Public Schools. Meghan is an out and proud transgender woman.
Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award in Support of the Notre Dame LGBTQ+ Campus Community
Rev. Joe Corpora ’76, C.S.C., Assistant Director of Pastoral Care Outreach in Campus Ministry; Director, University-School Partnerships, Alliance for Catholic School Education (ACE); Priest-in-Residence, Dillon Hall. In Campus Ministry, he works with students of color, economically poor students, first generation students and LGBTQ students. In ACE, Father Joe works closely with Bishops and Pastors and Superintendents to make Catholic schools available, accessible, and affordable to Latino children and families. He lives in Dillon Hall. In 2016, Pope Francis appointed Father Joe to serve the Church as a Missionary of Mercy. Fr. Joe was selected for his years of service assisting marginalized students, and the help he provides so many with the difficult journey of balancing their faith and orientation.
Special Video Tribute – During the evening, a specially produced video was played highlighting the 30-year journey of the ND LGBTQ+ community featuring stories, images and video clips of many alums & students: GALA/ARC ND Video Celebration.