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.

ND Alumni Association Welcomes LGBTQ Alumni to 2019 Reunion

As part of the 2019 ND Alumni reunion, Dolly Duffy, NDAA Executive Director, welcomed LGBTQ alums back to campus with an inclusive message on Twitter:

To our LGBTQ alumni as we celebrate Reunion: Your journey and witness enrich the experience of every one of us at Notre Dame. Please know that wherever life takes you, you always have a home here at Notre Dame.

To see the full tweet and the associated video, go here.

GALA-ND/SMC Pride Month (June 2019) Newsletter & Announcement

GALA exists to promote the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people within the ND and SMC communities, and true to that principle, we are pleased to announce the kick-off of an internal inclusion initiative for GALA!  We’ve had many discussions about our priorities for being more inclusive in the last few months and below, we’d like to share some of the initiatives we’ll be tackling this year. We’re excited to make this organization even better in 2019! If you have any questions, concerns, ideas to share, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

For the next year, our strategy will be divided into three efforts:

  1. Standardizing Inclusive Practices (Including a name change to Pride Alumni)
  2. Conducting Member Outreach
  3. Connecting with Current Students

To get your feedback, we will host two virtual town halls to connect live and answer questions and comments. Please see here for more information on how to connect for members during these two sessions.

  1. June 11, 2019 at 8pm ET
  2. June 23, 2019 at 2pm ET

There is also comment page (available here for members) for you to provide written comments anytime before June 30 at 11:59 pm ET.

For complete information on these important changes, go to:  GALA-ND/SMC Pride Month (June 2019) Newsletter & Announcement.

Second Annual DC Alumni Social – April 2019

On Saturday April 27th GALA-ND/SMC sponsored our Second Annual DC Area Alumni Social.  The event was hosted by Bob Davidson ’76 and his partner Amir at their beautiful home in Chevy Chase MD.  Over 15 Alums & Friends gathered for a fun afternoon of light appetizers, drinks and great conversation.

2019 LGBTQ Leadership Award Weekend

GALA ND/SMC hosted the 2019 LGBTQ Leadership Award Weekend to recognize and honor LGBTQ leaders in the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community. The celebration took place Friday March 29th through Sunday March 31st.

Included in the weekend’s events were an Alumni/Student Networking Event, an Academic Panel and the Tom Dooley/LGBTQ Leadership Award Dinner & Ceremony. 

For a complete weekend recap, including images press coverage and videos, go to 2019 LGBTQ Leadership Award Weekend.

Academic Panel – Saturday March 30, 2019 – Solidarity & Identify

In conjunction with the ND Department of American StudiesGALA will host a panel discussion called Solidarity & Identity during the 2019 LGBT Leadership Award Weekend.

In his book, Fr. Martin’s call for ‘Bridge Building’ between the LGBTQ community and the institutional Church echoes the Catholic Social Teaching principle of Solidarity. Readers are invited to examine the experience from each side’s perspective, and to find common ground to move forward.

Solidarity is not just a faith concept – it is also a method of political change. Past and current movements in the LGBTQ community and the church have built solidarity with other communities, such as immigrants or the labor movement, in their fight for civil rights.

Solidarity speaks to our ideas of dignity, faith, and the common good. Our panel will explore different examples of movements and reach toward an understanding of their goals, results, and philosophies.

Speakers Include: Fr. James Martin (via Skype), Professor Michael Hebbeler, and Shelly Fitzgerald.

  • Location: Andrews Auditorium Geddes Hall
  • Time:  1:00pm to 3:00pm
  • Registration:  No advance registration is required.  The event is free and open to everyone

2019 LGBTQ Leadership Awards Announced

Award Dinner Registration Now Closed

GALA ND/SMC is pleased to announce the 2019 Thomas Dooley and LGBTQ Leadership Award recipients.  This year’s award recipients are:

  • Thomas A. Dooley Award – Father James Martin S.J.
  • Distinguished Service Award – Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend
  • Distinguished Alumni Award – John Sullivan ND Law ’83

The individuals will be recognized at a dinner and ceremony on the Notre Dame campus on Saturday March 30th starting at 6:30pm.  Registration is now closed.  Go to:  2019 LGBTQ Awards Dinner.

The award ceremony is just part of the overall LGBTQ Leadership Award Weekend Celebration taking place Friday March 29th through Sunday March 31st

In addition to the Awards Dinner and Ceremony, other activities taking place over the weekend include:

  • Alumni/Student Networking Event – Friday March 29 – 8:00pm
  • Academic Panel – Saturday March 30 – 1:00pm
  • Alumni Social – Saturday March 30 – 10:30pm
  • Mass – Sunday March 31 – 10:00am

2019 Tom Dooley Award Event Being Planned

Every two years GALA ND/SMC recognizes individuals who have made contributions to the LGBTQ community.  Planning is now underway to announce the 2019 Thomas Dooley Award and LGBT Leadership Award recipients during a weekend in South Bend in Spring ’19. 

The weekend will include the awards ceremony and an academic panel related to the award recipient’s work.  Stay tuned for the “Save-The-Date” announcement!