Topics of local interest added to Economic Club pre-speaker dinner format

August 28, 2019


The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series is introducing an engaging new feature during pre-speaker dinners this season. Those who join us for a buffet dinner in newly renovated Grand Upton Hall will enjoy a 30-minute program featuring relevant panel discussions lead by area experts. 


Topics will cast a local light on the general theme of the evening’s guest speaker presentation and give dinner goers an opportunity to socialize with other community members. The first two panel discussions are:


Wednesday, October 16 – Dinner 5:30 pm, Panel Discussion 6:30 pm

Before Col. Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.)

The first dinner presentation of the season will be hosted by Lest We Forget. The discussion will bring together area female veterans with military service over the past few decades. These veterans will discuss their unique perspectives on serving in the armed forces.


Saturday, November 2 – Dinner 5:30 pm, Panel Discussion 6:30 pm

Before Ann Curry

Larry and Sandy Feldman will present a discussion of their recently published book Building Bridges Across the Racial Divide. This book offers a hopeful view of how well-constructed diversity initiatives can combat entrenched racial prejudice and segregation in American life. The Feldmans will discuss basic principles from their book and illustrate these principles with examples from a variety of racial diversity initiatives, including the Race Relations Council of Southwest Michigan, All God's Children Community Choir, and Calling All Colors. 


Other dinner topics in the planning stages include:

  • A presentation by Campus for Creative Aging prior to Mitch Albom on December 2

  • A panel discussion with Lake Michigan College faculty and community leaders on the topic “World Issues and their Impact on Our Community” prior to The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull on March 18

  • Local photographers sharing some of their work and methodology prior to National Geographic Live! presenter Brian Skerry, underwater photographer on April 8


All pre-speaker buffet dinners begin at 5:30, with panel discussions beginning at 6:30. Following dinner, attendees with tickets to the keynote presentation will take a short walk through The Mendel Center to the Mainstage where their reserved seats await. Volunteers and wheelchairs will be available to assist those guests with mobility challenges.


Dinner tickets are $25 for Speakers Series members, $35 for the public, and must be purchased at least one week in advance. Dinner tickets include a buffet meal and the panel discussion by local experts. Tickets for each evening’s guest keynote speaker in the Mainstage at 7:30 pm are sold separately. Speaker tickets range from $50 - $80.


Purchase dinner and speaker tickets at or call the box office at 269-927-8700, option 1, weekday from 10 am to 6 pm.

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