GALA ND/SMC is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016/2017 LGBT Student Scholarships. This year’s recipients are Samuel Cho ND ’18 and Maranda Pennington SMC ’17. Congratulations to both winners! Sam is double majoring at Notre Dame in Computer Science and Graphic Design and Maranda is a Nursing student at Saint Mary’s with a minor in Biology. For more information go to: LGBT Student Scholarship.
Message from the Chair Jack Bergen ‘77
It’s hard to imagine that it’s going on two years since I became Chair of GALA. In that time, I’ve met a lot of great fellow alums/friends of GALA and exchanged many emails with others. Also during this time, I feel a lot closer to ND as a result of the common interest and enthusiasm expressed by many of you.
As shown below, officer elections are coming around once again. I am hoping that this enthusiasm carries over into some of you considering and applying for any of the officer and volunteer positions. Playing a more active role does require some time, but as anyone of the existing officers/board members will tell you, the rewards far outweigh the investment of time and energy. Be part of the next generation of contributions that GALA can make to the LGBT community at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s!
Los Angeles LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit – Sunday June 26th
GALA will be holding our second LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit on June 26th. The event will hosted by Cody Lassen ’09 MBA and take place at his beautiful home in Malibu. Come to LA for the weekend and join fellow alums and friends for an afternoon of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and to raise money for this cause.
Special guests will include West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath, ’04 who directed The Vagina Monologues while a student and Bryan Ricketts ’16, openly out ND Student Body President and former President of PismND, the LGBT student group.
To register and for more information, go to: LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit.
Officer Elections & Volunteer Roles – GALA Needs Your Help!
GALA-ND/SMC will be holding elections for the 2016-2017 GALA Officers, and we want you to apply! There are five positions available (Chair, Vice Chair for Programs, Vice Chair for Membership, Secretary, and Treasurer) and descriptions of the duties of each can be found on the GALA website under GALA-ND/SMC Constitution. Being an officer of GALA-ND/SMC is an opportunity to directly support the LGBT alumni and students of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College and to place your mark on this organization.
Elections will be held over the next few months, and new officers will begin their 2-year term in April 2016. If you are interested in becoming an officer of GALA, please submit a short biography and statement of intent to email@example.com by April 1st. Thank you!
In addition to these elected position, two non-elected volunteer roles are also available (Fundraising Committee Chair and Web Support Guru). Given the recent emphasis on expanded fundraising and improving our web presence, both of these roles are critical to helping the group achieve our goals. Specific responsibilities can be found at GALA Volunteer Roles. If interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alumni Reunion Weekend at Both ND and SMC – June 2nd-5th 2016
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 each campus featuring alums and others sharing stories of LGBT life on campus. If you are interested in participating on the panel please contact Justine Ray at: email@example.com.
Notre Dame Day – April 24th and 25th
Once again Notre Dame will be holding a 24 hour celebration in April call Notre Dame Day. Last year, many GALA members helped contribute 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.
Recognition– GALA held our bi-annual Thomas Dooley Award in April honoring Patrick Burke ’06 for his work as the Co-Founder of You Can Play creating awareness and support for LGBT athletes. This was especially relevant to Notre Dame Varsity athletic teams whose members participated in creating a You Can Play Notre Dame video in 2014. During that event, we also recognized Kevin Heffernan ND ’93 a former GALA officer, with the GALA Alumni Award for his dedication and help over the years to Notre Dame LGBT students and alumni and we recognized Nancy (SMC ’64) and Hank Mascotte, Founding members of PFLAG-Michiana Chapter with the GALA Service Award for their efforts in support of gay youth in the South Bend community.
On Campus & Across the Nation– On the national front, we witnessed same-sex marriage become the law of the land in June. It took only 13 years to go from one state (Massachusetts) to all fifty. At Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, spousal benefits for same-sex married couples were made available after the Supreme Court ruling in October ‘14 affecting Indiana.
Spirit of Inclusivity– Much has been seen in 2015 on greater visibility for transgender individuals across the US, the “coming out” of Caitlyn Jenner being the biggest example. Over the summer, GALA started the process of developing a roadmap to become more inclusive for the bi and transgender members within our group. Once we gather member feedback, our goal is to complete that process and initiate specific actions next year.
On November 12, 2015 GALA held a fundraising event in NYC for the LGBT student scholarship fund. The event was attended by over 80 alums and friends and raised over $17,000. Everyone who attended was so engaged in the evening and thrilled to participate in helping out the scholarship fund.
In addition to Phil Donahue ’57 (who hosted the event) giving an impassioned speech, a video was shown of four current Notre Dame/St Mary’s LGBT students. One of the students was the recipient of the first scholarship. All of the students showed remarkable poise and confidence as they told their stories.
For more info and pictures, go to: NYC Scholarship Fundraising Event
The fundraiser also received very positive attention on campus. The event was featured on the front page of the student newspaper The Observer with the heading: GALA ND/SMC Hosts Fundraiser for LGBQ Scholarships.
One June 26, 2015 the US Supreme Court handed down a decision that gives same-sex couple the right to marry in all 50 states. The vote was narrow – 5-4 – but Kennedy’s majority opinion was clear and firm: “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”
The ruling will put an end to same-sex marriage bans in the 14 states that still maintain them, and provide an exclamation point for breathtaking changes in the nation’s social norms in recent years.
ND grad and GALA member Greg Bourke and his husband Michael Deleon were lead plaintiff’s in the Kentucky case that was part of the decision. We all thank Greg and Michael for their efforts to help bring about this change. For more information on their story go to: Huffington Post Article.
GALA will be hosting our annual football tailgater on September 19th for the Notre Dame – Georgia Tech game. For those who attended last year, you’ll remember how cold and miserable the weather was. Unless lightening strikes us, it has to be much better!! Come and join fellow alums, students, faculty and friends for some beer, brauts and fun conversation.
During the 2015 Thomas Dooley Award Dinner, the first annual GALA student scholarships were awarded. This year, the $2,500 scholarships went to Adrienne Whisman SMC ‘17 and Bri O’Brien SMC ‘16. Congratulations to both!!
On April 10th, GALA held the 2015 Thomas Dooley Award Dinner and Ceremony. This year’s Dooley award recipient was Patrick Burke ND ’06, co-founder and previous executive director of The You Can Play Project , and the current Director of Player Safety for the National Hockey League.
Also being honored at the award event were:
- GALA Service Award: Nancy (SMC ’64) and Hank Mascotte, Founding members of PFLAG (Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Michiana Chapter-North Central Indiana for their efforts in support of gay youth in the South Bend community.
- GALA Alumni Award: Kevin Heffernan ND ‘93, previous GALA officer for his dedication and help over the years to Notre Dame LGBT students and alumni.
GALA ND/SMC is deeply saddened by the recent “religious freedom” bill passed by the Indiana legislature and signed into law by Governor Pence. This bill, in effect, allows individual business owners to “refuse service” to LGBT individuals based upon their religious beliefs.
GALA has an event scheduled in South Bend on April 10th, the Thomas Dooley Award Dinner. This event has been in the planning for many months. Similar to other organizations conducting activities in Indiana, we have carefully evaluated the options available to us, including potentially moving the event.
We are pleased to tell you that the Dooley Award Dinner will take place as scheduled. Unlike others, who have a presence in many locations, GALA has it’s roots in the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community. These two campuses are our “home”. Not only did we go to school here, we started our journey into adulthood here, we grew as individuals with the help of classmates, teachers, coaches and staff. We developed bonds to this special place that have existed for many years and will continue for many more.
In the end, we may strongly disagree with this new law, but we are equally committed and resolved to support the ND/SMC and South Bend LGBT community by continuing to host our event as planned. While others may show their disagreement by choosing to leave the state, our “home” is firmly planted at Notre Dame and St Mary’s, and we choose to stay in solidarity and demonstrate our support in light of the decision. In the spirit of Fr. Hesburgh, we honor his memory by standing up for what is right!
We are also especially pleased by the immediate support shown by local business and civic leaders in South Bend, including Mayor Buttigieg. They have been very vocal in their message that “all are welcome”.
We encourage anyone who shares our resolve to join us at the event. It will be a celebration of the great work performed helping LGBT individuals feel more included and accepted both on the playing field and in all walks of life.
GALA ND/SMC Officers and Board
GALA-ND/SMC, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College, is proud to announce the winner of the 2015 Thomas A. Dooley Award. This year’s award recipient is Patrick Burke ND ’06, co-founder and previous executive director of The You Can Play Project, and the current Director of Player Safety for the National Hockey League.
The Dooley awards ceremony will be held adjacent to the Campus of St Mary’s College, Notre Dame IN, on Friday April 10, 2015.
For more information go to 2015 Dooley Event