The Dooley Award is named for a gay graduate of the university who was renowned for his medical work in the 1950s in Vietnam and Laos. GALAND’s president, Kevin Heffernan, said that in Judge, who is understood to have been gay, the group saw the same humanity as Dooley and the same crusading spirit.
The award was made by Phil Donohue, the former chat show host and himself a Notre Dame graduate, and an honoree of GALAND in 2000.
Other friends of Judge attended and spoke of their friendship with Judge, including Brendan Fay of the Lavender and Green Alliance and Firefighter Tom Ryan of Fire Flag, an organization for gay New York firefighters.
In his remarks, Donohue praised GALAND, saying: “You do not let it slide. Some day our alma mater itself will appreciate what you did for it.” He praised the group for leading the fight for “a Notre Dame that is free and open.”
As yet the university does not recognize GALAND as an official alumni group.
Donohue added that two things made him sad that evening: “The horror of 9/11 and the fact that I never met [Mychal Judge]. He was a man who, like Thomas Dooley, had to die before we saw the totality of his humanity. These are just two of our friends who have gone on to their reward.”
Fay spoke of how Judge has been celebrated “as an Irish man, as a fireman and as a Franciscan.”
Since his death, Judge has been the subject of several movements that have sought to celebrate his diverse life, including one group that is seeking to have him canonized.