GALA NYC is looking at 2014 as a building year.  First, we are looking to expand our membership by reaching out to more alumni in the New York City metropolitan area.  We have partnered with the Emory Alumni Association to compile a list of individuals we feel would be receptive to attending a GALA NYC event.  Additionally, it is our intention to partner with other schools for our signature events.   We have reached out to Rice, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Chicago and Wash U. with the hope that they could both co-sponsor and have a presence at future GALA NYC events.

In speaking to past and planned GALA NYC events, we hosted our Winter Social on February 25, 2014 at Vlada Lounge.  15 people attended and it was a nice cross section of class years and schools.  In looking to the future, we are in the midst of planning our Pride Happy Hour.  The event is scheduled to take place on June 24th and we are looking to host it at the Aspen Social Club in Midtown.

This year’s success would not be possible without the help of my board. To each of you, thank you for your hard work and dedication. As always, should you have any questions or suggestions for future GALA NYC events, please let me know.  I look forward to seeing everybody at future GALA NYC events.

Brian I. Sperber, Esq. 07C, Chair of GALA New York



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It is awards season on campus! The 22nd Annual Pride Awards occurred on March 4, 2014. The event brought together students, faculty, staff, and alumni to celebrate a year of challenges and accomplishments. Emory alumni in attendance spanned five decades of history at Emory. The award winners included:

SamanthaOutstanding Transgender Advocate of the Year: Samantha Allen 15G

Samantha’s tireless dedication to trans* issues and people at Emory and beyond earned her the 2014 Outstanding Transgender Advocate of the Year Award.  Over the past year, Samantha served as a co-facilitator for the Office of LGBT Life’s Trans-Forming Gender Discussion Group and as the Office’s graduate assistant where she brought thoughtful and provocative insight and skills to the position.  Additionally, Samantha was instrumental in organizing Emory’s first observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance where students, faculty, staff, and community members came together for education, support, and healing.

andy ratto

Fierce Leadership Award:  Andy Ratto 13G

Using skill, courage, and persistence, Andy Ratto successfully led the charge in creating a more inclusive campus over the past two years.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, Andy played an instrumental role in the removal of Chick-fil-a from campus, and the next year Andy joined with Sacred Worth to actively confront and protest the Candler School of Theology’s honoring of homophobic Eddie Fox with an alumni award.  Whether delivering letters of dissent or serving on GALA’s  Steering Committee, Andy finds ways to make Emory more inclusive and respectful of the LGBT community.

ATO ALLYAlly of the Year: Alpha Tau Omega

Historically, fraternities and the queer community have not always had the best relationship, but this year a group of students sought to make a change.  With the creation of an after party following Emory Pride’s Annual Drag Show, a new relationship was forged between undergraduate queer students and the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega.  The leadership of ATO saw an opportunity to create a larger, greater, and more inclusive community, and this earned them the Ally of the Year Award.

sacred worthRev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe Keeping the Faith Award:  Sacred Worth

As the queer student organization in the Candler School of Theology, Sacred Worth had a challenging academic year.  Finding themselves shocked and hurt by the honoring of homophobic Eddie Fox with a prestigious alumni award, Sacred Worth came together as a group and as a community to protest Candler’s decision and vocalize the concerns of Candler’s LGBT and ally students.  Employing numerous resources and sources of support, Sacred Worth displayed a united, loving front and kept their faith in their efforts to enact change.

John BlevinsAlum of the Year:  John Blevins 05T

In addition to his extensive research and field work implementing HIV prevention strategies in Africa, this year’s Alum of the Year Award recipient worked diligently to support the students of Sacred Worth when the Candler School of Theology honored homophobic Eddie Fox with an alumni award.  John Blevins 05T not only leveraged his faculty position in Candler, but also spent countless hours supporting and counseling students through a challenging semester.  John’s willingness to show up and be a voice in the reconciliation of faith and sexuality makes him an impactful Emory alumnus.

scottChesnut LGBT Person of the Year:  Scott Turner Schofield 02C

Scott Turner Schofield 02C has made a nationally recognized name for himself as a transgender performer and artist.  While at Emory, Scott advocated for more trans-inclusive policies and resources.  After graduating from Emory, Scott continued his advocacy work through performing, writing, and speaking his art around the country. Using his experiences as tools for learning, Scott helps others understand trans* issues and concerns on a national stage.

Cameron receiving the award.

Cameron receiving the award.

GALA Leadership Award:  Cameron Coppola 16C

Read an interview with Cameron here on The Post.

This year’s Pride Awards also included a new component to welcome this year’s graduates into GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni. Prior to the awards ceremony, thirty 2014 graduates and alumni enjoyed a beautiful dinner together.

Many LGBT students and staff also received awards outside the Pride Awards. Several student and staff leaders received Unsung Heroine Awards from the Center for Women at the Women and Gender Awards in March. An Unsung Heroine is a woman who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to issues that affect women at Emory or in the larger community, but whose efforts heretofore have not received accolades or formal recognition. Recipients included:

  • Samantha Allen 15G, Office of LGBT Life Transforming Gender Discussion Group Co-Facilitator and Office of LGBT Life Graduate Assistant
  • Nowmee Shehab 16C, Office of LGBT Life Queer Students of Color Discussion Group Co-Facilitator and Emory Pride Executive Board member
  • Lauren Bernstein, Safe Space Facilitator
  • Jonelle Shields McKenzie, Safe Space Facilitator


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Conversations and Exhibits at the Emory Libraries

May 9, 2014

The Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of the Emory Libraries has collected the materials and papers of gay figures for years, and in 2013 began a more focused effort to build its LGBT collections.  The current exhibit, “Building a Movement in the Southeast:  LGBT Collections in MARBL”, is on view through May 16, [...]

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Interview: Cameron Coppala, 2014 GALA Leadership Award Recipient

May 9, 2014

GALA first presented the Leadership Award in 2009.  The $4,000 award is given to an undergraduate student who demonstrates a positive impact on the campus environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.  This year’s recipient is Cameron Coppala 16C. Lilly Correa 73C, Co-Chair of GALA, recently interviewed Cameron for this newsletter. LC:  Tell us [...]

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Updates from the Office of LGBT Life

May 9, 2014

It is awards season on campus! The 22nd Annual Pride Awards occurred on March 4, 2014. Read about the recipients on The Post.  This year’s Pride Awards also included a new component to welcome this year’s graduates into GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni. Prior to the awards ceremony, thirty 2014 graduates and alumni enjoyed a beautiful [...]

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GALA Atlanta Events Update

May 9, 2014

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 14th.  GALA Atlanta is hosting a Summer Picnic at the Emory Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC), located on the Clairmont campus.  We will be poolside from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, at the Outside Terraces. There are plenty of picnic tables, shaded and sunny areas.  This is a great [...]

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Update from GALA Atlanta

May 9, 2014

Since our last newsletter, we have a lot of happy news to report. As Michael Shutt will tell you in this edition, the Pride Awards were a great success.  On a personal note, our LGBTQ Person of the Year Scott Turner Schofield 02C, was one of the primary reasons I joined GALA. On the invitation of Nathan [...]

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Randy New 76C 82L Running for Georgia House

May 9, 2014

Randy L. New 76C 82L, an active leader and supporter of Georgia’s LGBT community for many years, wants to change Georgia politics.  That is why he is running as an Independent for Georgia House District 56. “Most people would agree that our political system is broken,” Randy said.  “Our elected officials look out for themselves [...]

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Coach Chat: The Five Stages of Women’s Careers 3/28

March 10, 2014

Join Coach Chat for a special focus on the unique career obstacles and opportunities facing women as they navigate their careers.  Executive Coach Jodie Charlop will discuss the five stages of women’s careers and the development hurdles that must be addressed to ensure that women can unleash their full potential – and ensure that organizations [...]

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Food and Wine Festival at Miller-Ward 3/20

March 6, 2014

Events are always special at Miller-Ward Alumni House. For your up-close look at luxuriously appointed rooms, gracious grounds, and state-of-the-art conference spaces, join us for the festival to sample fine foods and wines. Please join us for this special Food and Wine Festival on March 20 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. RSVP today at    

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