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About the Speaker Series

 2022-2023 Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series

The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series brings people of all generations together for the shared experience of gaining a deeper understanding about the world around us.  By presenting speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan, non-political series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today's complex society.  The Speaker Series acts as a catalyst for innovative thought and personal growth while adding to our region's quality of life. 

A four-speaker season lineup is planned for the 2022-2023 Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College.         

The speakers are:

Pre-speaker dinners
For those who enjoy the social aspect and convenience of having dinner at The Mendel Center before speakers take the stage, that opportunity is available for the first three speaker events this season. During the buffet dinner served in Grand Upton Hall, a brief appearance by the speaker is planned


Series Ticket Packages

When you become a Mendel Center season series ticket purchaser, you enjoy priority seat selection, discount pricing, and special benefits!  All you need to do is purchase 3 or more eligible event, including Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series engagements. Performances and speaker events you have already purchased during the current season can be applied to your total number of shows. Member discounts will be applied to the additional shows being purchased. You may mix and match Speaker Series events with performances to build your series ticket package.

Series Ticket Package Benefits

When you purchase 3 or more season events, you receive a 10% discount off the regular ticket price.If you also contribute a one-time gift of $50 or more, or make an annual monthly pledge of $5 or more per month, before you purchase your series package, you will receive a 15% discount and become a Mendel Center Member with all the benefits available at your giving level.

Ticket exchange privileges
As a Mendel Center season series purchaser, you may exchange tickets until seven days before the event. You may choose another event from the current season. If tickets for the new performance or speaker costs more, you will only pay the difference. If the new event costs less, we will provide you with a gift card or we will credit your account for the balance.

Early access to tickets
Series ticket packages go on sale before individual show tickets are made available. By becoming a Mendel Center season series ticket package purchaser, you are among the first to purchase tickets and have the opportunity to reserve some of the best seats in the house.

Priority series package purchasing next season
As a series package purchaser this season, next year you will have priority purchasing opportunities before new series packages or individual show tickets are available.

Additional benefits
Advance notice of special performances when you provide us with your email address
Invitation to the 2023-2024 Season Reveal Party


Do you have a suggestion for a future speaker?  Click here to submit your suggestion.


More about the Speaker Series

The Speaker Series provides our community with a rare opportunity to go beyond the surface of current events to learn more, ask questions, and engage in meaningful discussions.  By inviting diverse viewpoints from a wide range of newsmakers and experts, community members are exposed to fresh ideas that promote healthy discussion and inspire creative approaches to local challenges and opportunities.

A mission of community impact and personal growth
The Speaker Series is an exciting and inspirational way for people of all generations to come together for the shared experience of learning more about the world around us. By presenting speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan, non-political speakers series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today’s complex society. By embracing and promoting diverse views and opinions, The Speakers Series acts as a catalyst for innovative thought and personal growth, while adding to our region’s quality of life.

Encouraging lifelong learning and engagement
The Speaker Series is more relevant now than ever. In today’s headline- and soundbite-driven, social media world, The Speaker Series provides our community with a rare opportunity to go beyond the surface of current events to learn more, ask questions, and engage in meaningful discussion.  By hearing from a wide range of newsmakers and experts, community members are exposed to fresh ideas and different points of view. This broadens our collective understanding of each other and the world, and can even help us develop creative approaches to local challenges and opportunities.

Advancing community vitality and connections
People want to live and do business in thriving, energetic places. The Speaker Series helps our region shine in its effort to attract business investment, strong leaders, and top employees. The annual lineup of world-famous speakers helps us set ourselves apart from other communities – many times our size – that don’t have a similar resource. And while it elevates our community’s stature, The Speaker Series also strengthens our community by being a place for professionals to network and build business. With more than 1,500 people in attendance at each event, there’s always someone new to meet and old friends and colleagues to catch up with.

Inspiring the next generation
Each generation owes it to the next to provide opportunities for discovery. Talk to anyone who makes a positive impact on our world and they will point to a person or experience in their youth that ignited their passion for the path they are on today. The Speaker Series connects area middle school, high school, and college students with world-famous personalities. Young people meet with speakers to ask questions and learn about the possibilities in the fields of science, business, public service, and more. They then attend the speaker presentations to gain insight on topics that will impact their futures. The next great inventor, researcher, or leader just might come from southwestern Michigan as a result of the inspiration and self-belief gained from attending a Speaker Series Event.

More than 700 area high school and college students, chaperones, and members of community service groups have participated free of charge in pre-event Q&A sessions with speakers. Groups have included Lakeshore Excellence Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, Harbor Habitat for Humanity, Mosaic Resale and Resource Center, Girl Scouts of America, The OutCenter, First Tee of Benton Harbor, multiple area high schools and middle schools and Lake Michigan College.

Current Series Past Speakers Membership Information

Upcoming Speakers

Past Speakers


Herbert E. Neil, Walter D. Frackler, Daniel Ford, Dr. Joel Ross

Hon. Coleman Young, Leonard Silk, Salim B. (Sandy) Lewis, R. Adm. (Ret) Gene La Rocque

Wayne W. “Woody” Hayes, David N. Dremen, Terry Savage, Hon. Charles E. Wiggins, Joan Claybrook

William E. Colby, Frank Vogl, William H. Sullivan

Earl R. Butz, Walter Fackler, Margaret “Midge” Constanza, Richard D. Morrow, Emmett Dedmon

Robert G. Dederick, Joseph N. Sorrentino, Dr. James S. Coleman, James L. Browning Jr.

Dr. John H. Knowles M.D., Hon. L.L.W. Sebe, John Burns

Herbert Neil, W. Michael Blumenthal, Hon. Reginald Maulding, Abe Raskin, Mme. Nila Magidott

Jerald F. terHorst, Dr. John T. Manning M.D., Gov. Tom McCall, Lewis A. Engman, Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt

William Turner, Herbert Stein, Henry E. Peterson, Myron E. Cherry, William D. Ruckelshaus

Sen. Fred Harris, Prof. Arthur Miller, J. Robert Schaetzel, William Davis, Jack Anderson, Sir Con O’Neill

Lynn A. Townsend, Roger Hilsman, Elisha Gray II, Robert Meserve, George Reedy

Betty Furness, Ian L. McHarg, Donald Lauria, James B. Reston

Justice Thos. F. Brennan, Wm. H. Stoneman, Sen. Robert P. Griffin, Robert Enstad/ Jerold Israel, Sen. Dan. K. Inouye

Sen. Jack Miller, Sen. Wm. Proxmire, James J. Kilpartrick, Lewis D. Gilbert, Ralph Nader

Robert Karr McCabe, Lord Harlech, Margaret Mead, Carl Gerstacker, Paul-Henri Spaak

Sen. Albert Gore, Leonard Woodcock, Drew Pearson, Dr. Paul W. McCracken, Robert Price

Bayard E. Sawyer, Hanson Baldwin, Bill Veeck, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Hon. Albert H. Quie

Sen. George McGovern, Sen. Frank Carlson, Dr. Yale Brozen, Malcolm Muggeridge, Hon. Kenneth T. Young, Jr., Judge George N. Leighton

Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Foot, Peter R. Nehemkis, Jr., Martin S. Ochs, George J. Sigler, Walter E. Schirmer, Issac Don Levine, John J. Flaharty

Dr. Dexter M. Keezer, Arthur M. “Red” Motley, Harrison Salisbury, Dr. David A. Stoddard

Joseph McD. Mitchell, Sen. Mike Mansfield, Dr. Robert A. Strusz-Hupe, Dr. Edward R. Annis, Nate R. White, Walter J. McNerney

Charles H. Perc, Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, Amb. Carlos Santamria, F.T. Aschman, Ellis B. Merry, Bishop James A. Pike

W. Allen Wallis, Richard Kasischke, Lyman C. Conger, John Crosby, James Reston, Louis O. Keslo, Mortimer Smith

Rt. Hon. Anthony Nutting, Stuart Chase, Lemuel Boulware, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, Gen. Sir John B. Glubb, Robert E. Pickup, Hon. D. Hale Boggs, Sen. Carl T. Curtis

Louis W. Prentiss, Arthur G. Clarke, Arthur E. Bestor, Hon. Frank G. Clement, Vance Packard

Rt. Hon. Herbert Morrison, Hon. Christian Herter, Prof. L.L. Waters, Hon. J. Ernest Wilkins, Hon. Emanuel Celler, James Reston, Hon. Antoni N. Sadiak

David B. Steinman, Gen. Carlo P. Romulo, Gerald Piel, Arthur Bliss Lane, Gaganvihari L. Mehta, Dr. Marcus Bach, Alistair Cooke

Dr. Will Durant, Hon. Douglas McKay, Gen. Claude H. Dewhurst O.B.E., Gardner Cowles, Elliot Janeway

Eddy Gilmore, Charles R. Sligh, Philip Graham, Dr. Marcus Bach, Eleanor Roosevelt, T. Coleman Andrews, Charles Sawyer, John A. Hannah

Paul A. Hoffman, Hon. Nicholas Nyaradi, Dr. Melchior Palyi, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, Dr. Jan Herman Van Roijen, Prof. William A. Paton

William T. Faricy, Sen. Blair Moody, Sumner T. Pike, Isaiah Leo Shartman, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Walter T. Tuohy, R. Adm Ellis M. Zachanas, Denis A. Greenhill, Dorothy Thompson

Dr. Ernest E. Irons, Dr. Hobert E. Wilson, Clinton S. Golden, Allen B. Kline, Angus Ward, Eugene C. Pullman, Wallace F. Bennett

Dr. Melchior Palyi, Earl Bunting, William A. Patterson, H.D. (Fritz) Crisier, Dr. George S. Benson

Paul A. Hoffman, James S. Knolson, Dr. Charles E. McAllister, Dr. Herold C. Hunt, George Weller, Dr. Ralph W. Sockman

Sen. Paul Douglas, Hon. Walter H. Judd, William R. Scheider, Donald K. David, Joseph M. Dodge

Robert Heller, Walter Trohan, Dr. Leo Wolman, Dr. Reuben G. Gustafson, Louis Bromfield, Philip D. Reed

Robert J. Watt, Raymond Moley, Gen. Robert E. Wood, Dr. Alexander G. Ruthven

Paul A. Hoffman, Dr. Gerald Wendt, Dr. Leo Wolman, Dr. Margaret Mead, Dr. Victor G. Heiser, Eric A. Johnson

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1100 Yore Avenue
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

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