Alumni Reunion Weekend at ND & SMC – June 1-4, 2017

                          

GALA will once again be hosting panels over the Alumni Reunion Weekend at both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.  Come and lend your voices to the discussions.  Both panels will take place on Saturday June 3rd, ND panel at 1:30pm and SMC panel at 3:30pm.  Locations will be added closer to the weekend.

For more information on the themes of two panels, go to GALA Events.

Welcome New Vice Chair for Membership Ram Ballesteros, ND ’09

In March 2017, Ram Ballesteros, ND ’09 volunteered as the new Vice Chair for Membership.  In this role, Ram is responsible for managing the processes to maintain current members, recruit new ones, conduct member communications, and process new membership applications.  He’ll also undertake a revamping and modernization of our back-end membership systems in hopes of improving the overall member user experience.  He will work to make membership interactions and engagement as easy and seamless as possible so that we can all focus on our group’s mission (and have some fun doing it)! 

Ram is also active in the community via the Hispanic Alumni of Notre Dame (HAND), the NY Alumni Association, and Out in Tech.  He lives in Brooklyn with his partner of nine years, also an alumni, who he met while a student at Notre Dame.  Feel free to reach out to him anytime!

Campus Connections

As a better way of staying connected to activities on campus, a new page has been added to the website called Campus ConnectionsThis page will have direct links to the daily edition of The Observer and a “Domer Cam” showing the current weather on campus. It also has links to the Notre Dame & Saint Mary’s LGBT student websites (PrismND & SAGA).

GALA ND/SMC March 2017 Newsletter

The March 2017 Newsletter was published on March 5, 2017.  The newsletter included a number of current-interest topics as well as upcoming events.  To view the full publication go to: March 2017 Newsletter.

  • Thomas Dooley Award Weekend – April 28th – 30th, 2017
  • Opposition to Mike Pence as Commencement Speaker
  • Alumni Reunion Weekend at ND and SMC – June 1st – 4th, 2017
  • GALA Officers Openings
  • GALA ND/SMC Club of New York City
  • Fall Tailgater – Saturday September 30, 2017 –  (ND vs. Miami of Ohio)
  • 2017 Membership Drive
  • Notre Dame Day – April 23rd & 24th, 2017

LGBT Alumni Voice Disapproval to Mike Pence as 2017 Commencement Speaker

Following the announcement that the University extended an invitation to Mike Pence as the 2017 commencement speaker, our LGBT alumni community expressed strong opposition to the decision.  Many of you spoke up with your disapproval citing his long history of disrespect toward LGBT individuals.

As a show of unity, GALA ND/SMC sent a letter to ND president Fr. John Jenkins communicating our deepness sadness over this action.  To see the full letter, go to:  GALA ND/SMC Reaction to Mike Pence Named 2017 Commencement Speaker.

Welcome GALA ND/SMC Club of New York City

In January of 2017, the first regional chapter of the national Gay & Lesbian Alumni Association for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s was created.  This group is called the GALA ND/SMC Club of New York City.  Their mission is to bring together the NYC metro area LGBT alums and friends from Notre Dame & St Mary’s in fellowship and to provide a forum for social events, community service, professional networking, and student support. 

The NYC Club is lead by a team of alumni volunteers whose goal is to provide programming that is fun, interesting and promotes camaraderie in their community. 

The NYC Club even has its own webpage.  It will be the “go to” spot containing all the activities and events hosted by the club.  Check it out at:  NYC GALA ND/SMC Club of NYC.

2017 Thomas Dooley Award Weekend Celebration – April 28-30, 2017

Dooley Award Ceremony – Dinner Registration Is Now Closed – Join us for other weekend events!

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 2017 Thomas A. Dooley Award.  This year’s award recipient is Kristen Matha SMC ’03.

“It is our pleasure to recognize Kristen with this award” says GALA Chair Jack Bergen. “The work she has undertaken at both the NCAA and at her alma mater Saint Mary’s College to strive for greater inclusion and diversity exemplifies the true spirit our organization’s key values and of the courage displayed by Dr. Dooley, for whom the award is named.” 

Also being honored during the event with the Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement is Joseph Pequigney ND ’44 for his pioneering work in LGBTQ studies. 

Full information on the award recipients can be found at: 2017 Dooley Awards.

The Dooley Award presentation dinner will be held Saturday evening April 29th starting at 6:30pm at the Eck Visitor Center on Notre Dame’s campus (next to the ND Bookstore).   There will be a premium beer & wine open-bar reception from 6:30pm to 7:30pm followed by dinner and the award ceremony.  Registration is now closed.

The Dooley Award ceremony will be held during a Weekend Celebration April 28/29, 2017 in South Bend.  There will be a Welcome Event Friday evening April 28th, a Panel Discussion on Saturday April 29th, an After-Party following the Award Ceremony Saturday evening and a Morning Prayer Service at the Grotto on Sunday April 30th.

For the complete schedule of the weekend activities, go to:  LGBT Leadership Celebration Weekend.

 

GALA ND/SMC December 2016 Newsletter

The December 2016 Newsletter was published on December 19, 2016.  The focus of the newsletter was a “Year In Review” highlighting the many events, changes and accomplishments over the prior 12 months affecting our community.  The key topics are shown below.  To view the full publication go to: December 2016 Newsletter.

  • Alumni Engagement Events
  • New York City
  • Student Support
  • LGBT Student Scholarship
  • Recognition
  • LGBT Student Scholarship Benefits
  • Membership Options
  • Official Recognition With The NDAA
  • Major Events On Campus & Across the Nation

GALA ND/SMC Celebrates #GivingTuesday

2016-gt-logo-wdate1DONATE HERE

After two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday –#GivingTuesday is a day for giving back.  #GivingTuesday is a movement, built by people around the world, to celebrate giving of all kinds.  This year it falls on November 29, 2016.

Join fellow alums and friends on #GivingTuesday by making a contribution to GALA ND/SMC.  For more information and how to donate, go to GALA ND/SMC #GivingTuesday.

 

GALA ND/SMC Fall 2016 Newsletter

The November 2016 Newsletter was published on November 13th and contains a number of interesting pieces. To view the full publication go to: November 2016 Newsletter.

  • 2017 Dooley Award Nominations
  • Alumni Socials in NYC and On Campus
  • Second Annual NYC Alumni Fall Weekend Including Stories & Pictures From the LGBT Pilgrimage of Mercy & Student Scholarship Benefit
  • Camp Pride Experience as Shared by Student  Elsie Ngomi ND ‘18
  • New Ways Ministry Blog Highlighting Jack Bergen’s Plea for Acceptance of LGBT Catholics as Reported in the Observer

2016 New York City Alumni Fall Weekend

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GALA ND/SMC held our 2nd Annual NYC Alumni Fall Weekend in early October, 2016.  Over the course of the weekend, alumni and friends were treated to a variety of events ranging from a small dinner at a quiet Italian Bistro, a fun game-watch in Hells Kitchen to the two signature events.  For a recap of the weekend including pictures, go to NYC Events, LGBT Pilgrimage of Mercy and 2016 NYC Student Scholarship Benefit.

Second Annual New York City Alumni Fall Weekend – September 30 to October 2, 2016

View over Central Park and the Upper West Side skyline, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USAGALA ND/SMC is happy to sponsor our Second Annual New York City Alumni Fall Weekend from September 30 to October 2, 2016.  This year there will be a number of planned events for GALA members and friends to enjoy, as well as other activities happening around the city for the ND/Syracuse football weekend.

Featured events will be the LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit on Sunday afternoon October 2nd at Phil Donahue’s apartment as well as a Pilgrimage of Mercy earlier on Sunday morning at 11:00am.

Come to one, two, or all of the events planned over the weekend!  For a complete calendar of events and more information, go to: Second Annual New York City Alumni Fall Weekend

DONATE HERE:  To help LGBT students by donating to the Student Scholarship Fund to go:  Make a Gift

LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit

lindsey talkAt the end of June 2016, a group of almost 50 Notre Dame and St. Mary’s alums and friends attending a fundraising event in Malibu to benefit the GALA ND/SMC LGBT Student ScholarshipSpecial guest speakers included ND SPB Bryan Ricketts ’18, current scholarship recipient Sam Chou ’18 and Hindsey Horvath ’04.  For pics of the event go to:  LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit – June 2016 – Malibu, CA

Remembering the Orlando Victims

Fellow LGBT Alums and Friends,

pulse picWhere do I start? Over the past several days we have all heard so much about the horrible and unnecessary killings targeting members of our LGBT community. As I write this, I am watching a replay of Anderson Copper’s heartwarming and emotional remembrance of the victims. 

First off, I know I speak for all of us when I say how sorry we are to the families of those killed and wounded. This was a terrible and tragic event that no parent, sibling, husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend should ever go through.

As I am sure each of you has felt, I have been in a daze since the shooting trying to make sense or reason of it all. I haven’t found any.  What I have found is our community, and many others who have compassion, coming together to share our grief and console each other.  So many of you have reached out via social media to be part of the healing process.  This will take time, much time to get over.

Being from Boston, this has brought back memories of the horrendous attack at the Boston Marathon three years ago. Just as with that, everyone from around the country rallied together to consul each other.

Like many of you, part of my healing process was to participate in a vigil in memory of the victims. The one I attended was at Boston City Hall on Monday evening, bringing together several thousand people allowing everyone to be in each other’s presence feeling the sadness, anger and grief.  It helped.

Where do we go from here? Let’s continue to lean on each other for support, say a prayer, light a candle and most important stay safe.  We will not hide, we will not go back in the closet.  Continue to celebrate our unique gifts that make us who we are and remember those who are no longer with us.

I hope and encourage that the University will also recognize the directed attack against the LGBT community and reach out with a message of compassion.

Jack Bergen ND ‘77

GALA ND/SMC Chair

May 2016 Newsletter

The May 2016 Newsletter has just been published and contains a number of interesting pieces. To view the full publication go to: May 2016 Newsletter.

  • New York City LGBT Alumni Social May 12, 2016
  • Alumni Reunion Weekend June 2-5, 2016
  • LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit in Malibu, CA June 26, 2015
  • 2016/2017 LGBT Student Scholarship Winners
  • 2016 Officer Elections
  • GALA Student Board Member Connor Hayes Wins Award

2016/2017 Scholarship Recipients Announced

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.

2016-2017 Student Scholarship Application is Now Open!

GALA ND/SMC is proud to announce that we are once again accepting applications for our annual LGBTQ SCHOLARSHIP for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Students.  As with last year, students must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate sudent at the University of Notre Dame or Saint Mary’s College for the 2016-2017 academic year, identify within the LGBTQ Community and meet several other qualifications.

For full information and an application go to LGBTQ Student Scholarship.

 

December 2015 Newsletter

Message From the Chair- Jack Bergen ‘77
It’s amazing to believe another year has gone by and so much has happened in the world around us and within our community.  I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on how things have changed over the past year and the progress that has been made.  Before I do that, on behalf of the officers and board of GALA ND/SMC, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and to ask you to consider GALA in your Year-End Giving in support of the LGBT Student Scholarship Fund.
 

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.

 
Regional Game Watches & Campus Tailgater– GALA sponsored a number of regional game watches across the US (including Boston, LA and NYC) for members and held our annual pre-game tailgater for members, students, faculty and friends from the South Bend Community for the Georgia Tech game in September.
 
LGBT Student Scholarship– For the first time ever, GALA awarded two $2,500 scholarships to qualified LGBT ND/SMC students.  Each student submitted a written application and committed to performing community service.  Congrats to AdrienneSMC ’17 and Bri SMC ’16 on being the first students to receive this scholarship.  Adrienne described her reaction to being awarded the scholarship, “I freaked out.  For two weeks I couldn’t stop smiling.  I ran down and told my friend Becky and she was so happy for me.  I texted my Mom…I won this scholarship.  I was really thankful.”  When recently asked to describe how things are on campus for LGBT students she said, “People are becoming more educated.  For me personally, I’ve found those little pockets of acceptance, and the pockets are kind of growing especially with the legalization of gay marriage over the summer.  People are talking about it more and it’s kind of an everyday topic in classes, so it’s becoming normal, something every day to talk about.”
 
Scholarship Fundraising– Similar to the LGBT Student Scholarship, for the very first time GALA undertook a Fundraising Campaign starting in September.  The original goal of raising $10,000 in 2015 was greatly exceeded as almost $20,000 has been raised.  The majority of this was accomplished through the generosity of members and friends attending the Premier Event in NYC hosted by Phil Donahue ’57 in November.  One of the highlights of the evening was viewing a collection of four current LGBT students sharing their experiences ND/SMC LGBT Student Video.  Given the success of this event, expect to see additional events in other cities in 2016, and a continued drive to eventually fund the scholarship through an endowment ensuring continuity in future years.
 
New Membership Options– Starting in September, Membership Levels available for individuals to join and support the group was expanded to include enhanced giving levels.  Each of the enhanced levels provides for an automatic contribution to the student scholarship fund.  In just 3 months, a number of members have signed up for this option contributing an additional $1,000+ annually to the fund.  These new options are available members who have an existing “contributing” membership as well as for non-contributing members.
 
Student Support– GALA continued our tradition of supporting the LGBT student community at ND & SMC through a number of different ways.  First, GALA provided funding for the annual student spring dance held this year at the Beiger Mansion.  Second, GALA sponsored a student to attend Camp Pride LGBT Leadership Week.  This year, the first transgender student attended from the ND/SMC community.  Third, through the generous donations made by GALA members, we were able to help PrismND come in # 47 (out of several hundred) in funds collected during the second annual Notre Dame Day in April.

Official Recognition With The NDAA– GALA submitted our request for official recognition to the Notre Dame Alumni Association in the spring of 2014.  Since then, an open on-going dialogue has continued.  We are hopeful that the time has come for LGBT alumni of Notre Dame to be welcomed into the overall alumni community.

Membership Outreach/Communication– Given the geographically dispersed nature of our membership, it is important to use all means available to communicate effectively with members.  In 2015, the number of individuals connecting via GALA’s Facebook Group went up almost 20% to just about 500.

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.  

Looking toward 2016, we have many challenges ahead of us.   I’d like to ask all members and friends to consider helping out in any way you can.  This could be through becoming a contributing member, making a donation to the scholarship fund, sponsoring a regional social or fundraising event, reaching out to fellow classmates who may have lost touch with GALA, or by using your skills and talents to assist with the many activities it takes to engage our members and/or to help current students
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In conclusion, I want to especially thank my fellow officers Brandon, Justine, Jerry and Mallory for their hard work and positive attitude they bring to all of their efforts.  Many of the accomplishments above were the result of their determination.  Also, I want to thank all of our members for your support and participation in 2015, and I hope that 2016 will bring even better results for our community.

Jack Bergen ’77
GALA ND/SMC Chair

LGBT Student Scholarship Giving                                     GALA ND/SMC Membership

GALA ND/SMC Holds First Ever Fundraising Event in NYC

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.    

NYC event pic_4

US Supreme Court Decision June 26, 2015-Same Sex Marriage Legal in All 50 States

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.

Greg Bourke and his family.

Greg Bourke (right) and his family.