ND announces new LGBTQ+ Alumni Group


For the past 18 months, members of the GALA-ND/SMC leadership team have met with the Notre Dame Alumni Association as part of an LGBTQ+ task force.  Through consistent communication and heartfelt discussions, the group charted a path to form an officially recognized LGBTQ+ alumni affinity group which will be called the Alumni Rainbow Community of Notre Dame (ARC ND). Today, the creation of ARC ND is being announced.   The group will start recruiting members this fall and build a leadership structure for an official launch in January 2022.  Under this new name and structure, ARC ND will continue the GALA-ND/SMC mission, which has served as a place for LGBTQ+ graduates, allies, and friends to celebrate community, support students, and build bridges since its inception. GALA-ND/SMC Board of Trustees member Jack Bergen notes “The efforts of the current GALA leadership and the LGBTQ+ task force are the culmination of decades worth of work in building relationships with the university.  With the creation of ARC ND, LGBTQ+ alumni will be even bettered positioned to support and collaborate with all the LGBTQ+ members of the Notre Dame community.

Paul Burke, current GALA-ND/SMC chair, shares, “I want to thank the Notre Dame Alumni Association for making this historic decision.  I also want to thank every GALA-ND/SMC leader and member who built this organization and helped it thrive.  Whether you increased awareness of LGBTQ+ issues on campus or locally, raised money to support students in need, or joined the community in solidarity of the mission, you have paved the way that resulted in today’s exciting announcement.   While this community has positively impacted many, we have a new organization to build, ARC ND.   The GALA-ND/SMC officers and board are excited to support ARC ND and to join the NDAA family.   Together, we know that we will build an inclusive community that makes everyone proud.”   

“For more than two decades, GALA-ND/SMC has played a valuable role in building community and helping LGBTQ+ alumni and friends connect with one another and the University,” said Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “Our team is grateful for the work and counsel of the GALA-ND/SMC leadership and task force over the past year and a half. Our candid conversations and constructive dialogue have led us to today’s announcement and we look forward to working together to continue to build ARC ND and to cultivate an inclusive and supportive community for our LGBTQ+ alumni and all members of the ND family.”

In the coming months, GALA-ND/SMC leadership will propose a transition plan to sunset GALA-ND/SMC and ensure the success of ARC ND.  Membership feedback will continue to be elicited as this plan is finalized over the next few months.  As a reminder, our constitution states that only dues paying members vote.   If you are interested in participating in the upcoming vote, please confirm that you are a dues paying member.

We are sure that you have questions.  Find answers to some FAQs 

Have questions that haven’t been answered? Email questions to membership@galandsmc.org

For more information about ARC ND, please visit arc.undgroup.org

We hope that you are having a great pride month and are excited about today’s announcement.

It is a great day to be Irish,

the GALA-ND/SMC officers and board


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 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

2017/2018 LGBT Student Scholarship Applications Now Open

For the third year in a row, GALA ND/SMC is proud to make available two scholarships to qualified LGBT students at Notre Dame & Saint Mary’s for the 2017/2018 academic year. The application window is open between January 24, 2017 and will continue through March 21, 2017.  Recipients will be announced this spring.

Thanks to everyone who has generously contributed allowing us, as an alumni group, to offer these scholarships to such deserving students.

Alums & Friends…..for more information on prior recipients or to contribute, go to:  LGBT Scholarships 

Students….to find out about eligibility requirements and to apply, go to:  LGBT Student Scholarship Application.

Secretary Position Filled

Michael McCabe pic

Based on the elections results by dues-paying voting members, Michael McCabe ND ’72 has been elected to the position of secretary.  Michael will complete the remaining term for this role until the next officer elections in spring ’18.  Congratulations Michael!

Observer Features Article on LGBT Student Scholarships

On Tuesday May 24th, The Observer ran a story featuring the LGBT Student Scholarship recipients Sam Cho ND ’18 and Maranda Pennington SMC ’17.  In the article, each talked about their community service project giving back to the LGBT community at the two schools.

As GALA Chair Jack Bergen stated about the importance of the scholarship, “Notre Dame’s Catholic identity creates a “unique environment” for LGBTQ students and alumni.  We’re not looking to change Notre Dame’s foundation in the faith that it relies upon, but we’d like to see them embrace LGBTQ individuals more, especially as it relates to being whole individuals and supporting them just as any other member of the Notre Dame community.”

Also, Bergen discussed the need for Notre Dame to recognize it’s LGBT alumni “It’s great that the University recognizes LGBTQ students and supports them within the undergraduate community…but once they graduate, they’ve lost that support from the University,” he said. “We’re looking to encourage them to continue to support the LGBTQ community.”

To read the full article, go to: GALA ND/SMC Awards LGBTQ Scholarships.

GALA ND/SMC Officer Election Results

The election process has been completed for selecting GALA ND/SMC officers for 2016-2018.  The following individuals were approved by the voting eligible dues-paying members:

  • Chair: Jack Bergen ND ’77
  • Vice Chair for Programs: Holly James SMC ’02
  • Vice Chair for Membership: Angie Kueck ND ’95
  • Secretary: Mike Shriver ND ’85
  • Treasurer: Mallory Price SMC ’10

Congratulations to all!  Bios for the new officer slate can be found at Officers: 2016-2018.

Spring 2016 Newletter

Message from the Chair Jack Bergen ‘77

bergenIt’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 secretary@galandsmc.org 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 jack.bergen@yahoo.com.

Alumni Reunion Weekend at Both ND and SMC – June 2nd-5th 2016 

reunion logoreunion2016_logo_small

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: justray@bgsu.edu.

Notre Dame Day – April 24th and 25th

nd_day_logoOnce 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.



Webinar: “Towards Inclusivity”

GALA-ND/SMC is making a number of changes over the next year to promote the voices of bi and trans folks in our organization! We would like to invite GALA-ND/SMC members to join us and add your voice to our discussion.

Please Join Us:

Date: Wednesday 12/9
Time: 8:30pm to 9:30pm EST

By Computer, Tablet, or Smartphone:

Or By Phone:
United States : +1 (224) 501-3412

Access Code: 788-759-445

Fundraising Kick Off!

ND/SMC LGBTQ Alum Fundraising Kick Off!
This year, we have set a goal to raise $10,000. Reaching this goal will allow us to continue to fund the new LGBTQ Student Scholarship as well as provide continued funding to sponsor and host events that benefit LGBTQ Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alum of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College for various events throughout the year. In doing this, we also hope to form a stronger community for LGBTQ Alum and Allies and create networking and social opportunities for years to come!
Interested in helping us meet the fundraising goal???
Here are a few ways YOU can get involved:
1. Donate online at:
2. Attend a Fundraising and Networking Event in your local area:
September 19th, 2015  —- Attend the Annual GALA Tailgating at the ND vs Georgia Tech Game!
November 12th, 2015 —- New York City Fundraising Event at the Home of Phil Donahue, ND ’57
To register for this event please go to: NYC Scholarship Fundraising Event
3. Become a GALA Member: 
Starting in September ’15, GALA has expanded the options for members who wish to contribute at higher levels.  Now, members may sign up for $35, $100, $250 and $500.  The “enhanced” levels have a built in donation to the student scholarship fund and provide for several special perks to you.  To become a contributing member and/or to increase your contribution go to GALA Membership Levels
4. Volunteer to host a local event, donate a raffle item to help raise funds, or be creative and tell us how you would like to raise funds to support the campaign. Send us an email with how you would like to help!

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.

Spring Newsletter

Message From The Chair
Jack Bergen ‘77

Spring has finally come, and for those of us in Boston with record snowfall it hasn’t come soon enough.  Since our last newsletter much as happened.  On the good side, hearings were recently held by the Supreme Court for marriage equality. We all hope for a positive decision by the end of June.  Our own Greg Bourke ’82 and his husband are the key defendants for the state of Kentucky’s case.  Also good was the performance of both the men’s and women’s ND basketball teams in the NCAA tournament. Congratulations to them on making it into the “elite 8” and in the finals respectively.  On the bad side, there have been several unfortunate incidents in major US cities of violence against black men by police.  And on the “just plain ugly” side has been the passing, and then a quick change, on the Religious Freedom Bill in Indiana.  Thanks to all who voiced your concern and support for the LGBT community in both South Bend and across all of the state.

Against all this GALA held our bi-annual Dooley Award Dinner and Ceremony recognizing Patrick Burke, ND ’06 for his great work with the You Can Play project.  During the event, we had ~ 60 people, including almost a dozen SMC and ND students attend.  It was so rewarding to celebrate with fellow alums and others the great work of Patrick and other award winners.  Also, it was fantastic to announce the first annual GALA Student Scholarships at the dinner.  During that weekend, GALA also sponsored a panel featuring students from both Notre Dame and St Mary’s sharing their experiences on campus.  Even though there continues to be challenges, it is so encouraging to hear about students being able to be out with friends and classmates.

Most recently a lot to you participated in the ND Day celebration.  Through your donations and voting for PrismND, they landed at #51 (out of ~800 groups) and received over $5,000 from the $1M challenge fund.  Great job!!

We hope to see many of you on campus at the upcoming alumni reunion event (June 6th) and for the football tailgater (September19th).

Upcoming Events

Reunion 2015

GALA-ND/SMC will once again be sponsoring two panel discussions during Reunion weekend entitled, “The Gay and Lesbian Experience at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s: Past and Present.”

Come and join us as we hear from students and alumni about their experiences of being LGBT on campus. We will have a panel discussion on Saturday, June 6th from 1:30-2:30 in DeBartolo Hall, Room 126. We will also have a similar panel discussion on Saint Mary’s campus from 3:30-4:30 in Spes Unica Hall, Room TBD. Please check Facebook and the GALA website in the days leading up to the event for the latest details.

Football Tailgater ND/Georgia Tech on September 19th

Once again GALA will sponsor our annual football tailgater on campus.  This year, the tailgater will be held prior to the game against Georgia Tech on Saturday September 19th.  For those that 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.


On Campus Updates

New LGBT Group at Notre Dame

A new LGBT group recently started on campus.  OUTatND, made up of primarily undergraduate and graduate students but also including faculty, alumni and others kicked off their campaign on Tuesday April 28th.  The organization is independent of the University and is focused on promoting equality, visibility and solidarity for the LGBTQ community at Notre Dame.  The group is not looking to replace the existing university-recognized student organization PrismND, but to provide additional visibility for areas outside of Prism’s capabilities.  More information can be found at www.outatnd.org

Spring Follies

Once again GALA sponsored the annual student dance “Spring Follies”.  As in previous years, Ron Montandon and Dennis Slade, long-time GALA friends hosted the event at the Beiger Mansion. There was so much interest, the students had to rent 2 buses to transport all the attendees to the ball.  Of course, the dance was followed by an “after party” well into the evening (remember when you used to go to those).

ND Day April 26-27

Notre Dame held it’s 2nd annual Notre Dame Day to raise awareness and money for various school related groups.  $1 million was available to all groups to be split up based on the # of “votes” during the 24 hour period. Thanks to the generosity of GALA members and other donors, PrismND, the LGBT student group, came in # 51 (out of 800+ groups) and was allocated over $5,000 of the $1M.  Great job to all that participated!

New Scholarship Winners

The GALA Officers and Board are proud to announce the recipients of the first LGBTQ Student Scholarship. Students, Bri O’Brien and Adrienne Whisman were recognized at this year’s Dooley Awards Dinner as the 2015 Scholarship recipients. Bri O’Brien is a junior at Saint Mary’s College majoring in Social Work and Adrienne Whisman is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s College who is studying History and Humanistic Studies.  Each student will receive $2,500 toward their tuition upon successful completion of a community service project. Both Bri and Adrienne have exemplary academic backgrounds as well as proven leadership skills. We are delighted that Bri and Adrienne applied, and we are looking forward to supporting them this coming year with their service projects.

If you are interested in supporting the scholarship fund or if you have any questions about this fund, please feel free to contact us.

Honoring Alumni

In Memory of Kevin Heffernan ND ‘93

Unfortunately, one of our own, Kevin Heffernan ND ’93 passed away in mid April.  Kevin was very actively involved in the club, and recently was recognized for his dedication with the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Thomas Dooley Celebration.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his husband David Biele and to his family.

GALA 2015 Football Tailgater – September 19th (ND vs. Georgia Tech)


2014 Football Tailgater

2014 Football Tailgater


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.


GALA 2015 Student Scholarship

Mallory Price, GALA Vice Chair for Membership announcing the 2015 student scholarship awards to Bri O'Brien and Adrienne Whisman

Mallory Price, GALA Vice Chair for Membership announcing the 2015 student scholarship awards to Bri O’Brien and Adrienne Whisman


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!!

2015 Thomas Dooley Award Event

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.

Jack Bergen, GALA Chair, presents check to Patrick Burke co-founder of You Can Play

Jack Bergen, GALA Chair, presents check to Patrick Burke co-founder of You Can Play

Patrick Burke, 2015 Dooley award winner and Bryan Ricketts, GALA board member

Patrick Burke, 2015 Dooley award winner and Bryan Ricketts, GALA Board member

Patrick Burke 2015 Dooley Award Winner, Liam Dacey and Jack Bergen, GALA Chair

Patrick Burke 2015 Dooley Award Winner, Liam Dacey and Jack Bergen, GALA Chair

Also being honored at the award event were:

Jack Bergen, GALA Chair, presents awards to Hank and Nancy Mascotte

Jack Bergen, GALA Chair, presents GALA Service Awards to Hank and Nancy Mascotte

Nancy and Hank Mascotte accepting the GALA Service Award

Nancy and Hank Mascotte accepting the GALA Service Award

  • 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.
Kevin Heffernan, 2015 GALA Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Kevin Heffernan, 2015 GALA Distinguished Alumni Award winner

Tom Hubbard, GALA Board member presents PrismND Officers with poster from 1972 "Out of the Closet" Dance

Tom Hubbard, GALA Board member presents PrismND Officers with poster from 1972 “Out of the Closet” Dance

Liam Dacey giving tribute to Fr Ted

Liam Dacey giving tribute to Fr Ted

GALA Football Tailgater – Stanford Game October 4th

Stanford Game October 4th- Once again GALA will be sponsoring a fabulous tailgater for a home football game. This year’s tailgater will take place for the Stanford Game October 4th. Mark your calendars and apply for tickets in the football lottery. Last year was unusually warm and the perfect opportunity to show off our colorful rainbow balloons and ND attire. Come and join us this year. There is always plenty of food and liquid refreshments!

Alumni Reunion Events

Notre Dame Alumni Reunion- Call for Panel Speakers and Attendees

Are you thinking about coming to the ND Alumni Reunion this year, or do you need a reason to attend? GALA ND/SMC will once again be sponsoring an open house entitled “The Gay & Lesbian Experience at Notre Dame: Past & Present.” Come join us and hear about recent advances being made on campus with the new student group PrismND.

The reunion weekend is May 29th to June 1st.  GALA’s event will take place on Saturday May 31st at 1:30 in DeBartolo Hall, Room 116.  This time and location is now confirmed.

We are currently seeking panelists who are interested in sharing their experiences of how life at Notre Dame was for them. Join a group of current students, alums and faculty to hear what LGBT life is like at Notre Dame now and how this may be different from years past.

For more information contact Jack Bergen, GALA Chair at:  chair@galandsmc.org
He will be hosting the event on campus and would love to meet as many of you as possible. See you there!!

Saint Mary’s Alumni Reunion

For the second year GALA will also be sponsoring a panel at Saint Mary’s Alumni Reunion weekend held the same weekend as ND’s. Please join fellow alumnae for a panel discussion called “The LGBT Experience at Saint Mary’s College: Past and Present”. It will be held on Saturday May 31st from 3:30 – 4:30 pm in Spes Unica Hall, Room 145.  This time and location is now confirmed.