Marlo Thomas, Notre Dame, IN, 2022
An American actress, producer, author, and social activist. Ms. Thomas is best known for starring on the sitcom That Girl (1966–1971) and her children’s franchise Free to Be… You and Me. She has received three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award for her work in television, has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Thomas serves as National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father Danny Thomas in 1962. She created the Thanks & Giving campaign in 2004 to support the hospital. Marlo has been a longtime advocate for the LGBTQ community and received the Excellence in Media Award at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000.
Thomas and her husband Phil Donahue ND ’57 recently wrote a book entitled What Makes a Marriage Last. The book offers practical and heartfelt wisdom for couples of all ages, and a rare glimpse into the lives of husbands and wives we have come to know and love. Marlo and Phil’s frequently funny, often touching, and always engaging conversations span the marital landscape—from that first rush of new love to keeping that precious spark alive, from navigating hard times to celebrating triumphs, from balancing work and play and family to growing better and stronger together. At once intimate, candid, revelatory, hilarious, instructive, and poignant, this book is a beautiful gift for couples of every age and stage.
The Rev. James Martin, S.J.
Notre Dame, IN, 2019
The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, author, editor at large at America, the national Catholic review, and a Consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication. His has demonstrated life-long dedication of helping others and through his impassioned work in creating visibility and a platform for greater acceptance of LGBT Catholics by the Catholic Church. Father Martin has called for a greater dialogue and understanding between the LGBT community and the institutional church. His tireless work over the past 40 years has elevated the importance of this issue to a level previously unseen.
As described by John Stowe, Bishop of Lexington, KY in Father Martin’s book Building a Bridge (How The Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity), “Building a Bridge….describes the ‘culture of encounter’ that Pope Francis frequently espouses. In order to construct this bridge, those on each side must presume the goodness and worth of each other and be motivated by the common desire to meet each other on the way. With a heart sympathetic to the suffering that LGBT people of faith have experienced and a love for the church, Father Martin describes how this encounter can be a fruitful and liberating journey for those on both sides.”
Kristen Matha SMC ’03
Notre Dame, IN, 2017
As a student, Kristen, was a four-year letter winner in basketball and served as student trustee. As an alumna, she currently serves on the Saint Mary’s College Alumnae Association Board of Directors and in 2013, she received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Kristen has also served on the GALA ND/SMC Board of Trustees. Currently, she is an Associate Director of Academic and Membership Affairs for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Kristen is married to her wife Kendra, who together raise their son Micah.
Kristen being recognized for her committed service to the LGBT community. In 2014, she led the NCAA national office LGBTQ-A employee resource group launch and under her leadership the group had significant impact on the development of LGBTQ inclusive policies. Kristen has also facilitated numerous LGBTQ inclusion trainings for NCAA staff, student-athletes and administrators. It was through this work, that Kristen was able to assist Saint Mary’s College with developing a student leader workshop focused on creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus for LGBTQ students.
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.
Patrick founded You Can Play in 2012 along with Brian Kitts and Glen Witman.
Since its creation, Patrick has worked tirelessly to create awareness of the challenges of being a LGBT athlete. Working with both gay and straight allies, he has been a tremendous leader to educate coaches, staff and athletes to create a more welcoming and accepting environment for everyone in the locker room and on the playing field.
Patrick was inspired by his younger brother, a gay hockey player in high school. “My brother Brendan taught me what the locker room can be like for young LGBT athletes, then showed me the difference one person can make by standing up for what is right. With the You Can Play Project, we hope to provide a means for athletes, coaches, and fans to stand up and create an atmosphere of inclusion. As each person or team stands up, LGBT athletes everywhere will become aware that they can be themselves without fear. Freed from the burdens of fear and shame, these athletes will be free to play to their full potential, making our teams, our leagues, and the sports themselves better, stronger, and more entertaining.”
In the spring of 2014, You Can Play partnered with Notre Dame Athletic Department to create a video of athletes from all 26 varsity sports showing their support for fellow LGBT team members You Can Play University of Notre Dame
Bishop Gene Robinson
South Bend, IN, 2013
V. Gene Robinson was elected Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on June 7, 2003, having served as Canon to the Ordinary (Assistant to the Bishop) for nearly 18 years. He was consecrated a Bishop on All Saints Sunday, November 2, 2003, and was invested as the Ninth Bishop of New Hampshire on March 7, 2004. A 1969 graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, he has a B.A. in American Studies / History. In 1973, he completed the M.Div. degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York, was ordained deacon, and then priest, serving as Curate at Christ Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Much of his ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation. He holds two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards from national civil rights organizations.
His story is featured in the 2007 feature-length documentary, For the Bible Tells Me So. In 2008, Robinson’s book In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (Seabury Books, New York) was released. Bishop Robinson has been active particularly in the area of full civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Working at the state, national and international levels, he has spoken and lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. He has been honored by many LGBT organizations for this work, including the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, GLAD, NH Civil Liberties Union, GLAAD, and the Equality Forum. Bishop Robinson was invited by Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009.
The Bishop’s latest book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, was published by Alfred Knopf in the fall of 2012. He is the focus of the 2012 documentary Love Free or Die: How the Bishop of New Hampshire is Changing the World. He is the father of two grown daughters and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters. He lives with his husband, Mark Andrew, who is employed by the State of New Hampshire’s Department Health & Human Services.
Sr. Mary Louise (M.L.) Gude
South Bend, IN, 2010
Sister Mary Louise Gude (1940-2013) spent her life in Holy Cross educational institutions. She held a licentiate from the University of Montreal and a Ph.D in French literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught one year at Holy Cross Academy, Kensington, MD and four years at Dunbarton College in Washington D.C. The rest of her career was spent at Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame. She chaired the Modern Language program in her years at Saint Mary’s and held a number of positions at Notre Dame, assistant rector, rector, assistant to the chair in the Department of Romance Languages, and assistant vice-president for Student Affairs. In that last assignment she chaired the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs, which eventually developed into the Core Council. She was instrumental, along with Standing Committee members in creating a program for all first-year students on issues facing the gay community at Notre Dame. She retired from Notre Dame in 2006 and then served as vice-president for mission at Saint Mary’s College.
John J. McNeill
Chicago, IL, 2005
John J. McNeill is a psychotherapist, moral theologian, writer and lecturer, and a towering figure in the gay rights movement. For more than 30 years, he has devoted his life to speaking and writing about gay and lesbian equality and spirituality. In 1976, in response to his ministry and writings, McNeill was silenced by the Vatican. In 1988, after refusing to obey a further directive from the Vatican ordering him to give up all ministry to gays and lesbians, McNeill was expelled from the Society of Jesus, of which he had been a member for 40 years.
McNeill’s published work, which both challenges Catholic teaching on homosexuality and discusses gay and lesbian spirituality, includes The Church and the Homosexual (1976); Taking a Chance On God: Liberating Theology for Gays and Lesbians, Their Lovers, Friends and Families (1988); Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey to the Fullness of Life for Gays, Lesbians and Everybody Else (1995); and Both Feet Firmly Planted in Mid Air: The Spiritual Journey of John McNeill (1998). For 25 years, McNeill held retreats on gay and lesbian spirituality at Kirkridge Retreat Center in New York. In 1974, McNeill co-founded the New York City chapter of Dignity. His archives are housed at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.
Sr. Jeannine Gramick
Los Angeles, CA, 2003
Sr. Jeannine Gramick is the co-founder of the Baltimore and Washington, DC chapters of DIGNITY, a national organization for Catholic lesbian and gay people. She also founded New Ways Ministry, a social justice center working for the reconciliation of lesbian and gay people and the Church. Sr. Gramick’s clash with Church leaders over her compassionate ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics is the topic of the award-winning documentary, In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick’s Journey of Faith, by Emmy Award-Winning Out Of The Blue films.
Gift Recipients: New Ways Ministry, Sisters of Loretto
Fr. Mychal Judge
New York City, NY, 2002 Posthumously
Fr. Mychal Judge (1933-2001) was a gay Franciscan chaplain who died accompanying firefighters into the lobby of the north tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. As a long-term member of DignityUSA, Fr. Judge ministered to members of the GLBT community and HIV/AIDS patients during his 40 years of service. Brendan Fay, member of New York’s Lavender and Green Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Irish-Americans, and a close friend of Fr. Judge, accepted the award on his behalf. In his acceptance, Fay said, “Mychal Judge chose to follow a path of honesty and openness in life, both as a Catholic priest and a gay man. His ministry of compassion and his quest for peace and reconciliation will be an inspiration for generations to come.” After his death on 9/11, President Bush invoked his name in signing the Mychal Judge Act, which grants death benefits to the beneficiaries, including same-sex partners, of public safety workers killed in the line of duty.
Gift Recipient: Ali Forney House, a homeless shelter for gay youth
South Bend, IN, 2000
Phil Donahue is an Emmy Award-winning media personality and has long been a champion for GLBT causes. A graduate of Notre Dame (B.A., ’57), he is best known as the host of The Phil Donahue Show (1967-1996), the first tabloid talk show. Through his talk show, Mr. Donahue often brought awareness of GLBT issues to the mainstream public. Most recently, Mr. Donahue was amongst those honored with a Special Recognition Award by The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) at the 20th Annual Media Awards ceremony for his decades of service to the GBLT community. He was also the recipient of the first GLAAD Media Award in 1990.
San Francisco, CA, 1997
Brian McNaught is a renowned author and educator on the issues facing LGBT people. Named “the godfather of gay diversity training” by The New York Times, Mr. McNaught has worked with heterosexual audiences in churches, classrooms, and boardrooms since 1974 to help build competence and confidence in their proactive response to GLBT employees after the Catholic Church in Michigan fired him for being gay. He also helps people to better understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by gay people to acknowledge, affirm, and integrate our sexual orientation into our family, faith, and work communities. He extensively uses his books and DVDs as educational resources. In 1979, his published open letter to Anita Bryant resulted in a television debate between him and Anita Bryant Ministries in Miami. From 1982–1984, Mr. McNaught served as the Mayor of Boston’s Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community. More recently, he was an advisor to former Surgeon General David Satcher on matters of national sexual health.
Mr. McNaught’s Thomas A. Dooley Award is now a part of the permanent collection at the Stonewall Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Virginia (Ginny) Apuzzo
New York City, NY, 1996
Virginia Apuzzo was the first recipient of the Thomas A. Dooley Award. Ms. Apuzzo has dedicated her life to gay and lesbian issues, including civil rights, health care, HIV/AIDS and the concerns of aging members of the GLBT community. After serving as a nun in the Sisters of Charity in her late-twenties, Ms. Apuzzo came out as a lesbian and began her involvement with the National Gay Task Force (later renamed the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) where she eventually became the Executive Director of the Task Force’s Fund for Human Dignity. During this time she also worked vigorously in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including testifying before Congress to press for more federal money for HIV/AID research and education.
After serving in the New York state government, the Clinton administration appointment Ms. Apuzzo first as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor and subsequently as Assistant to the President for Management and Administration, making history as the highest ranking openly gay or lesbian government official in the nation. In 1999, she rejoined the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force as the first holder of the Virginia Apuzzo Chair for Leadership in Public Policy at the organization’s Policy Institute.
Gift Recipient: New Ways Ministry