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).
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.
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.
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.