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Former Chief White House Photographer to open Lake Michigan College Speaker Series Sept. 19

Former Chief White House Photographer to open Lake Michigan College Speaker Series Sept. 19

The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center welcomes to the Mainstage former Chief Official White House Photographer and New York Times best-selling author Pete Souza at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19. Souza’s presentation is part of the Lake Michigan College Speaker Series.

Souza has spent more time in the Oval Office than almost any person in history, serving as the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama for all eight years of the administration and as an Official White House Photographer for President Reagan.

During his Speaker Series presentation “What I Saw Inside the Presidency,” he shares some of his iconic behind-the-scenes photographs, along with his poignant detailed stories, all leading to a bold and dynamic depiction of true leadership.

Souza’s books, “Obama: An Intimate Portrait,” published in 2017, and “Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents,” released in 2018, each debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest release, “The West Wing and Beyond: What I Saw Inside the Presidency,” is filled with stunning photographs and powerful storytelling of the Presidency from his time inside the White House.

The 2020 Emmy-nominated documentary “The Way I See It,” based mostly on “Obama: An Intimate Portrait” and “Shade,” is an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the Obama and Reagan presidencies. It reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist into a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people. It was named Best Documentary by the New York Film Critics and was the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award for Most Compelling Living Subject of a Documentary.

Souza has lectured on his photography at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Carnegie Hall, Harvard University, and at many engagements internationally. He has made national TV appearances on “CBS Sunday Morning,” “Dateline NBC,” “ABC’s 20/20,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Face the Nation,” “Fox News Sunday,” and “The Today Show,” among many others.

Souza started his career working for two small newspapers in Kansas. From there, he worked as a staff photographer for the Chicago Sun-Times, an Official Photographer for President Reagan, a freelancer for National Geographic and other publications, the national photographer for the Chicago Tribune based in their Washington bureau, and an assistant professor of photojournalism at Ohio University before becoming Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama in 2009.

Additionally, Souza has covered stories around the world. After 9/11, he was among the first journalists to cover the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, after crossing the Hindu Kush mountains by horseback in three feet of snow. While at the Tribune, Souza was part of the staff awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for explanatory reporting on the airline industry.

Other books to his credit include “Unguarded Moments: Behind-the-Scenes Photographs of President Reagan,” "Plebe Summer at the U.S. Naval Academy," and "The Rise of Barack Obama" which was also on the New York Times bestseller list.

Reserved seating tickets for Pete Souza start at $45 and are on sale now. A limited number of Club Mendel stage side table seating tickets are also available. Order tickets online at, by calling the box office at 269-927-8700 option 1, or in person one hour before event time at the Mendel Center box office in the Mainstage lobby.

High school and college students are invited to attend a free Student Q&A session with Souza beginning at noon in Hanson Theatre. A limited number of complimentary student tickets are available to those participating in the Student Q&A session. Registration is strongly encouraged at Questions regarding group registration for the Student Q&A may be emailed to


Mendel Center 2023-2024 Season Sponsors

Stage Side Sponsors: Meijer, Sturgis Bank, TPC Technologies, Wales Wealth Management Group,

Platinum Sponsor: CK Catering, Forte Coffee

Media Partners: 97.5 Y Country, 98.3 The Coast, The Herald Palladium, The Lake 95.7 MailMax, News/Talk 94.9 WSJM, Rock 107 WIRX, SuperHits 103.7

Preferred Partner Hotel: The Boulevard Inn & Bistro

Artistic Partners: Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Twin City Players



Posted July 19, 2023

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