A mission of community impact and personal growth

The Speakers 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 Speakers Series is more relevant now than ever. In today’s headline- and soundbite-driven, social media world, The Speakers 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 Speakers 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 Speakers 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 Speakers 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 Speakers Series Event.

During the past two seasons, 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.

New members may join as space permits. Join today!

To encourage the next generation of leaders to experience the career and personal growth opportunities The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series provides, a limited number of new Young Professionals memberships are now available. Included is access to all six season speakers, a special speaker intended primarily for young professionals, and networking opportunities. If you, a family member, or employee under the age of 40 would benefit from this programming, contact the Box Office at 269-927-8700, option 1.

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