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.  

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

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.

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!

2019 Thomas Dooley Award Nominations

Every two years, GALA ND/SMC honors one of the university’s most deserving alums Tom Dooley through an award in his name. The Thomas A. Dooley Award honors individuals who, through their faith-based background, have demonstrated personal courage, compassion and commitment to advance the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

We are currently seeking nominations from our members for the 2019 Award, which will be announced at a dinner and award ceremony in April 2019. If you know of someone who you believe meets the criteria, complete this nomination form: 2019 Dooley Nomination.  Please submit all nominations by Sunday November 11, 2018.

If you have questions, or to submit the nomination, reach out to Jack Bergen GALA ND/SMC Board Member at

Fourth Annual GALA ND/SMC NYC Alumni Fall Weekend November 16 – November 18, 2018

GALA ND/SMC is happy to sponsor our Fourth Annual New York City Alumni Fall Weekend from November 16 to November 18, 2018.  There are a number of planned events for GALA members and friends to enjoy over the weekend.  Registration for all events is now open!

For complete weekend information and to register for the events, go to:  2018 NYC Alumni Weekend.

  • Welcome Dinner – Friday November 16th, 7:00PM – Aria Wine Bar (369 West 51st Street Between 8th & 9th)
  • Pre-Game Tailgater – Saturday November 17th, – Harlem – 11:00AM
  • Game Watch – Saturday November 17th, – Boxers (Chelsea) – Kickoff 2:30pm
  • Celebration of Mass – Sunday November 18th, – 11:30AM – St Francis Xavier (W 16th St)
  • LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit – Sunday November 18th, 4:00PM
  • After Party – Sunday November 18th, – 6:30pm to 9:00pm – Boxers Upper East Side

Fourth Annual NYC LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit – November 18, 2018 – Save The Date!

GALA ND/SMC, is pleased to announce the Fourth Annual NYC LGBT Student Scholarship Benefit to take place on Sunday November 18, 2018 at 4:00pm.  The benefit will be hosted once again by Phil Donahue ’57 and his wife Marlo Thomas’ at their beautiful apartment overlooking Central Park.

Join fellow alumni and friends for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and camaraderie to raise money for the LGBT Student Scholarship FundSince the fund’s inception, members & friends have contributed over $115,000 of the $250,000 target.  Our goal for this year’s event is $50,000.  The featured guest will be 2018/2019 Scholarship Recipient Tim Jacklich ND ’20.

The weekend coincides with the Shamrock Series game being played at Yankee Stadium on Saturday November 17th.  Come to NYC for the weekend and join us in raising money for the scholarship fund! 

Registration will be open later in the summer, but make your plans now to attend.  If you are unable to attend in person, you can still participate by making a donation to the scholarship fund here: GALA ND/SMC Giving

For more info go to 2018 Scholarship Benefit.

ND Reunion Panel: Inclusion & Diversity at Notre Dame – Join The Conversation – Saturday, June 2, 2018 – 9:00am

As a Notre Dame community, we have an obligation to ensure that the principles of diversity and inclusion for people of all colors, genders, faiths, sexual orientations, social or economic class, and nationality are welcome and supported. Join diverse members from a variety of ND alumni communities (Black, Hispanic, LGBT, Asian Pacific and Native American) as we discuss this critically important and relevant topic. Panel sponsored by GALA ND/SMC, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College.  MODERATOR: Bryan Ricketts ’16, ’17, GALA ND/SMC Vice-Chair Membership

The event will be held on Saturday June 2nd at 9:00am in DeBartolo, room # 126.  All alumni & friends are welcome!  To see the event info on the ND Alumni Reunion Seminar Website, go here.

GALA ND/SMC Leadership Changes

The 2018 GALA ND/SMC Officer elections are now completed. Thanks to everyone who voted and congratulations to the new officer team! This is one of the most diverse group of officers our organization will have.

The 2018-2020 Officers are:

  • Chair: Ram Ballesteros ND ’09  
  • Vice Chair – Membership: Bryan Ricketts ND ’16, ’17 
  • Secretary: Morgan Benson ND ’14 
  • Treasurer: Andrea Green ND ’11
  • Vice Chair – Programs: Currently Vacant (and looking for a volunteer)

To see each of their bios, go to 2018-2012 Officers. The new officers will assume responsibility as of May 1, 2018 following a transition during the month of April.

Board Changes

In addition to new officers, we welcome Chris Becker, Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, as a new board member representing ND faculty. Chris replaces Ave Preacher who recently stepped down from this role. Also departing the board is Bryan Ricketts as he assumes his role as Vice-Chair Membership.

We want to thank these individuals in volunteering for these important roles, and are all looking forward to the leadership each of them brings to our LGBT Alumni community.

Winter 2018 Newsletter

The Winter 2018 Newsletter was published on March 8, 2018.  The newsletter includes a number of current-interest topics as well as upcoming events.  To view the full publication, go to: Winter 2018 Newsletter.

  • Officer Elections
  • Alumni Feedback & Response
  • Activities on Campus
    • LGBTQ Resource Fair
    • ND Transgender Awareness Panel
    • ND Graduate Student Union Panel
  • Upcoming Events
    • Alumni Social in DC
    • Alumni Reunion Weekend
  • Past Events
    • NYC Christmas Party
    • NYC Midnight Run Community Service Event
  • Membership Renews
  • ND Day- PrismND

GALA ND/SMC DC Area 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, 20815There 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

2018 – 2020 Officer Elections – Call for Nominations By February 20, 2018

Every two years GALA ND/SMC conducts elections for all officer positions.  In 2018, elections will be taking place during March and we are looking for individuals to fill these roles.  This is a great opportunity to take a leadership role in driving engagement for the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s LGBT alumni & friends community.  In addition, you get to play a key role in helping to strengthen our relationships with many key partner organizations both on campus and around the country.

Election Timeframe (Tentative)

  • Call for Nominations – January 25th – February 20th
  • Ballot out for Voting – March 1st – March 20th
  • Elections Results Announced – March 31st

WE CAN USE YOUR HELP!!  The successfully elected individual is asked to make a two-year commitment, participate on monthly officer calls and attend major events for their position.  The formal position descriptions can be found at:  GALA ConstitutionRegardless of the specific roles, all officers are encouraged to get involved in whatever way they feel they can make a difference.  The positions available are as follows:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair Program
  • Vice-Chair Membership
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary

In addition to these elected positions, our group also has several other volunteer opportunities:

  • Fundraising Coordinator – Identify and execute on potential fundraising opportunities such as grants, corporate sponsorships and on-going donation activities.
  • Scholarship Fund Financial Investment Advisor – Now that the scholarship fund is over $100,000, the group is looking to create an “investment committee” to establish an investment strategy to ensure long-term viability.  We are looking for a volunteer certified investment advisor to lead this committee.  (Note- All funds will be held in Fidelity)
  • Regional Alumni Leaders – As we look to expand our regional chapters, we need alums “on the ground” who can put together a small group to start engaging local alums with social and other events.

For more information, and to nominate either yourself or another alum by February 20th, go to: 2018-2012 Officer Elections.