The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Announces Its Full Slate of 2012-2013 Speakers

Membership Renewals Are Open Until Sept. 13. A Limited Number of New Memberships Are Also Available.

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan has finalized its slate of speakers for the 2012-2013 Speaker Series it was announced today by Club President Mike Cook. Whirlpool Corporation Chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig will conclude the series on June 11. Other nationally renowned guests that were announced earlier include former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, entertainment icon Bill Cosby, lifestyle entrepreneur Martha Stewart and NFL star Tim Tebow.

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The series begins with Santorum on Sept. 18. The former senator from Pennsylvania (R: 1995-2007) was the Republican dark horse when he entered the 2012 presidential race. But his victory in the Iowa caucuses thrust him into the national limelight. Known as a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, he went on to garner victories in 10 more states before withdrawing from the race in April 2012. Santorum's pre-election visit will provide timely insights into the people and policies that will shape the economic landscape of the U.S. in the next four years.

Comedian, actor, producer and best-selling author Bill Cosby will address The Club on Oct. 10. He has been a major influence in breaking down racial barriers over his career. He became the first black actor in a starring dramatic role on network television, and the first to win an Emmy Award for best actor, for the series "I Spy." But he may be best known for his most successful work producing and starring in "The Cosby Show." His visit will give fans a chance to discover what makes us laugh, makes us cry and makes us think. To learn more about Cosby, visit

The Club will host Martha Stewart, America's most famous homemaker, on Nov. 1. For nearly four decades, her creativity in the home and garden has inspired countless men and women around the world. But the business magnate, magazine publisher, best-seller author and media personality hasn't always made her living influencing lifestyles. She was a fashion model and one of the first women on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Named by Time magazine among the 100 Most Influential People (2005), Stewart will share her recipe for her $1.2 billion entrepreneurial success.

The spring term will open with NFL star Tim Tebow on May 9. A quarterback with the New York Jets, Tebow came into the national spotlight in 2007 when he was the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. In 2010, his unconventional quarterbacking made him a first-round NFL draft pick by the Denver Broncos. He joined the Jets in 2012. Apart from his collegiate championship career, Tebow is praised and criticized for his openly Christian beliefs, signature "Tebowing" and charity work. His talk will shed light on what matters beneath the veneer of this rock-star-status quarterback.

Concluding the season will be Whirlpool Corporation Chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig on June 11. Few corporations make as huge an impact on the quality of life in Southwestern Michigan, and around the globe, as Whirlpool does. Fettig has played a major role in that influence. Since 2004, he has deftly guided the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances, navigating it through tough economic times. His knowledge of a changing manufacturing world, international consumer demands and the economic needs in our own backyard will make his visit invaluable.

The Economic Club meetings are open to members only. Cook said membership renewal is now open for Mainstage Auditorium members until Sept. 10 and Upton Hall members until Sept. 13. A limited number of new memberships are also available this year and interested people are encouraged to add their names to a waiting list at

Anyone wishing more information about The Club may visit the website, email or call 269-982-6010.