The Officers and Board of Trustees of GALA-ND/SMC (Gay & Lesbian Alumni of Notre Dame and St. Mary's) 2013 Thomas A. Dooley Award recipient is The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, retired Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in U.S.
Bishop Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination. He served as Bishop in New Hampshire from 2003 through 2012 and is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
In December, 2012, Notre Dame responded to the long-standing request of students to form an official gay/straight alliance group. President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced that Notre Dame would permit an officially recognized GLBTQ student organization. The student group is being formed as part of an overall plan to address the needs of GLBTQ students. The plan, entitled "Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame," is the vehicle that reconciles the teachings of the church with the recognition of support, love, and compassion for all individuals. In addition to the group, the Pastoral Plan also outlines the establishment of a full-time GLBTQ student development staff position, and the transition of the Core Council into an advisory committee.
"I appreciate the careful and thoughtful work of this review that considered both the needs of our students and the teachings of the Catholic Church," Father Jenkins said in a press release. "As articulated in the University's 'Spirit of Inclusion' statement, Notre Dame's goal remains to create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, and I am confident that this multi-faceted, pastoral approach represents the next step in advancing our efforts toward this aspiration for our GLBTQ students."
Robinson is being honored by the GALA alumni group, not the student group. His book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage, was published in September of 2012. Robinson was also featured in the documentary Love Free Or Die the story of a man whose two defining passions are in apparent conflict: his love for God and his love for his partner Mark.
The Dooley award will be presented to Bishop Robinson at the Gillespie Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Saturday, April 6. In addition to the award ceremony and dinner, a showing of Love Free Or Die will take place on the campus of the University of Notre Dame that weekend. The 2013 Tom Dooley Awards are made possible in part by a grant from the Raynier Institute & Foundation.
Also being honored that weekend are:
Lawrence Condren Distinguished Service Award: Catherine Pittman, Ph.D, H.S.S.P., Associate Professor of Psychology at St Mary's College, for her work as the advisor for St Mary's Gay/Straight Alliance (SAGA) and for her role in spearheading the LGBT rights ordinance in South Bend.
Distinguished Alumni Award: John Blandford, ND '83, '99 Ph.D. Principal Deputy Director, Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Disease Control & Prevention and prior GALA ND/SMC Chair for his life-long work fighting HIV/AIDS and for his efforts in support of LGBT issues at Notre Dame.
Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement: Sr. Margaret Farley R.S.M., Ph.D. retired professor who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School from 1971 to 2007 for her work on sexuality and the Church.
The Thomas A. Dooley Award presentation dinner will be held in the Stapleton Room in LeMans Hall at Saint Mary's College.
A variety of other free events are being planned throughout the day. A full schedule will be posted here as information becomes available.
See www.galandsmc.org/events.html .
GALA-ND/SMC is the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. The group numbers more than 1,000 members, including LGBT alumni/ae, faculty and staff from the schools, as well as many straight supporters.
The purpose of GALA-ND/SMC is to:
Promote solidarity and friendship among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender graduates, former students, and friends of the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College;
Provide financial and moral support to OutreachND, AllianceND and Feminist Collective, and other groups which support GALA's mission;
Sponsor, direct, and participate in activities of any nature including charitable, educational, spiritual, and athletic, which further the interests of lesbian and gay alumni and friends of the two schools;
Improve communication with University and College officials; and
Increase the visibility of gay and lesbian alumni at Notre Dame, Saint Mary's, and nationwide.