The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan  Announces Speakers for 2011-2012 Season

Memberships Available to Public Until Sept. 9

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan President Michael Cook announced today the speakers for The Club’s 69th season. The Club also announced that a limited number of memberships are available to the public this year and that applications will be accepted until Sept. 9. Individuals interested in joining can download an application here.

The 2011-2012 list of lecturers includes:

  • Katie Couric, former “CBS Evening News” anchor and NBC “Today” co-anchor, Sept. 20
  • Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Oct. 19
  • Richard M. Daley, former mayor of Chicago, Nov. 16
  • Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr., former NBA/MSU basketball star, March 20
  • Carol Browner, former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate
    Change Policy, April 10
  • Glenn Beck, radio talk show host, May 9

KatieCouric_EnlargeThe 69th season begins with Katie Couric, one of the most influential women in national news media. The former CBS “Evening News” anchor and NBC “Today” co-anchor will address The Club on Sept. 20.  A third major network, ABC, recently announced that Couric is returning to daytime television to host a syndicated talk show slated to air in September 2012. Over the course of her career, Couric has covered the Sept. 11 attacks, the Columbine tragedy, six Olympic games and Princess Diana’s funeral. When her husband died of colon cancer, she led a major national effort to raise awareness and research funding for the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Couric will share her insights into many of the people who have shaped the course of recent history.

RobertGates_EnlargeOn Oct. 19, Dr. Robert Gates, the 22nd U.S. Secretary of Defense (2006-2011), will address The Club. He is the only Secretary of Defense to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected President. His illustrious career includes serving as president of Texas A&M University (2002-2006). He also was director of Central Intelligence (1991-1993) and is the only career officer in the CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. His protection of U.S. citizens has earned him the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal and National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (twice). That evening he will discuss some of the nation’s most pressing defense and security issues.

RichardDaley_EnlargeFormer Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (1989-2011) shall wrap-up the fall session on Nov. 16. Time magazine once described him as “The Nation’s Top Urban Executive.” That recognition came in part because Daley made it his top priority to pull together Chicagoans to “focus on what unites us” and challenge his constituents to put aside politics to solve the city’s problems. While mayor, Daley’s determination to do more with less helped him cut more than $2.7 billion in spending. Other accomplishments include improving Chicagoans’ quality of life and public schools, diversifying the city’s economy and helping Chicago become one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. Daley’s passion for improving the “Windy City” will help to inspire members to see the potential for changing their own communities.

MagicJohnson_EnlargeThe Club will open its spring session on March 20 with businessman and former National Basketball Association (NBA) and Michigan State University (MSU) basketball star Earvin Johnson Jr. Raised in Lansing, Mich., Johnson earned his famous nickname, “Magic,” after a sportswriter witnessed the Lansing Everett High School basketball player score 36 points, grab 16 rebounds and make 16 assists in one game. He continued on to play at MSU, leading the Spartans to a Big Ten Conference Title his freshman year and a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship his sophomore year. The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Johnson in 1979. He retired from pro-basketball in 1991, but played on the gold medal winning “American Dream Team” in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. Today his Magic Johnson Enterprises creates champion urban businesses. When he returns to his home state next spring, he will talk about how to face adversity on and off the court.

CarolBrowner_EnlargeOn April 10, Carol Browner, former director, White House Office of Energy and Climate Control Policy, will address The Club. There she oversaw the coordination of environmental, energy, climate, transportation and related policy across the federal government. During her tenure she helped secure the largest investment ever in clean energy, established new automobile fuel efficiency standards and launched the first-ever greenhouse reductions. Prior to that, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (1993-2001), she adopted the nation’s most stringent air pollution standards.  Today, a senior counselor of Albright Stonebridge Group, Browner will offer The Club a global perspective in the areas of environmental protection, energy conservation, climate change, water security and resource scarcity – all issues that impact the Great Lakes region.

GlennBeck_EnlargeRounding out the 2011-2012 series will be Glenn Beck, one of the nation’s most controversial and followed radio talk show hosts. A leading voice among the political right in America, Beck’s folksy, passionate style has helped him syndicate his radio program on more than 300 stations across the nation. He has authored seven consecutive No. 1 bestselling books. His controversial stances and open attacks on the Obama Administration continually fuel cheers and outrage. Beck’s refusal to back down on what he says has helped him build one of the most lucrative media brands in the country. When he visits Southwestern Michigan, Beck will spark conversations long after The Club’s last meeting ends.

Attendance at the speaker series is limited to Economic Club members only. Others interested in joining will find more information about The Club, this year’s speakers and membership applications at Prospective members may also request  more information by emailing or calling (269) 982-6010 and leaving their names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses.