GALA Celebrates!

Join GALA for MARBL LGBT collection tour and Blue Jean Brunch this Homecoming.

By Michelle Valigursky

Story Photo

This array of political and activist buttons is part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender collection (MSS 1249) in MARBL. Credit: LGBT Collections, MARBL, Emory University.

Get out your favorite blue jeans and get ready for the Emory Gay and Lesbian Alumni (GALA) annual Homecoming Blue Jean Brunch. For many alumni, this traditional gathering is a not-to-be-missed event for reconnecting with classmates and Emory friends.

John Peterson 08T, co-chair of GALA Atlanta, explains. “During Homecoming weekend, Emory GALA will be hosting the Blue Jean Brunch, our annual fundraising and social networking event. This year, it will be held in the faculty dining room at the Dobbs University Center.” Like many of his former classmates, Peterson will also be on campus next week to celebrate his five year reunion as an alumnus of the Candler School of Theology.

“Prior to the brunch, MARBL is holding an open house of their LGBT archival material which includes contributions from several Emory alumni and members of Atlanta's LGBT community. Of special note are protest posters and signs from the protest that started Emory on a long journey that included the founding of the Office of LGBT Life,” Peterson adds.

GALA Scholarship

GALA Leadership Award recipient Carl Kroeger 15C with Sharon Semmens 80C 80G.

“GALA is an excellent opportunity for alumni to invest in Emory’s community and campus culture while receiving the benefits of staying connected to an incredibly meaningful resource and organization,” says Olivia Wise 10C, GALA Atlanta co-chair and Jumpstart Site Manager for the Office of Student Leadership & Service. “The members of GALA are deeply dedicated to ensuring that Emory continues to create and maintain systems of support for LGBTQ students, staff, faculty, and community members and those who join receive the benefit of contributing to this work while making meaningful connections.”

Stella Maher, assistant director of regional volunteer programs for the Emory Alumni Association, explains the group’s mission. “GALA’s goals include actively participating in the Emory Alumni Association by planning, promoting, and delivering a variety of social, educational, professional, and networking programs and events. GALA also supports community engagement through the Emory Office of LGBT Life and by facilitating campus outreach to LGBT faculty, students, and friends at Emory. Additionally, GALA has made an impact on campus through fund-raising efforts that provide scholarships for emerging student leaders.”

With a mission “to maintain and seek to expand a network of alumni of Emory University in order to organize, serve, and advocate for Emory's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” GALA seeks to “develop a sense of community and offer networking opportunities, through social events, a newsletter, and an online membership site.” Additionally, GALA supports and advocates for a non-discriminatory and diverse working, living, and academic experience at Emory.

Emory alumnus author Elliott Mackle 77PHD reflects on GALA’s history at Emory. “In the beginning, we thought of GALA as an agent for social and institutional change and a means to support and protect students, faculty and staff,” Mackle says. “It seems to have become that. What we didn't see, at least at first, is that it has also become an important fundraising platform for LGBT students.”

Help expand awareness for LGBT scholarship and issues. Join GALA for these Homecoming festivities:

Saturday, September 28, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. | Tour of MARBL's New LGBT Exhibition | Woodruff Room and MARBL, Robert W. Woodruff Library

Emory LGBT Alumni and friends are invited to a special viewing of MARBL's newest exhibition "Building a Movement in the Southeast: LGBT Collections in MARBL." Randy Gue, curator of Modern Political and Historical Collections, will guide attendees through highlights of MARBL's growing LGBT collections that form an intimate portrait of the community's history, culture, politics, and public health initiatives in the American South. Learn more about the collections. Complimentary · Registration requested · Attire: Casual · Contact: Stella Maher, 404.727.8412 or

Saturday, September 28, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. | GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni Blue Jean Brunch | Faculty Dining Room, Dobbs University Center

Join Emory's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender alumni group (GALA) for their annual brunch. This year's brunch will also serve as the annual fundraiser to support the GALA Leadership Award and the Office of LGBT Life Pride Awards. Registration requested · Attire: Casual · Parking: Peavine or Fishburne Decks · Contact: Stella Maher, 404.727.8412 or

All are welcome to attend. $15 per person in advance, $20 at the door. Students and recent graduates from the classes of 2013 and 2012 are admitted for free, compliments of GALA. Host committee sponsorship levels include up to two tickets for the brunch. (Lord Dooley's Queer Friend $500, Champion $250, Mentor $150, Advocate $50.) Your contributions in excess of the fair market value of the event ($15) shall be treated as a charitable contribution. Emory will provide a gift receipt for your charitable contribution.

To join GALA or to obtain more information about how you can get involved, please contact one of the local GALA group leaders in your area.

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Michelle Valigursky