The Economic Club Of Southwestern Michigan Announces 2010-2011 Speaker Lineup

Comedy Legend Bob Newhart Begins 68th Season Sept. 30

BENTON HARBOR, MICH. — The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan President Michael Cook announced today the lineup for The Club’s 68th Speaker Series.  The 2010-2011 lecturer list includes comedy legend Bob Newhart, Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Mexican soprano opera star Barbara Padilla, broadcast journalist Ted Koppel, former Commander of U.S. and International Forces Stanley McChrystal and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Newhart will address the member-only meeting at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center for Arts and Technology, Benton Township, Mich., on Sept. 30. The legendary comedian has made the English-speaking world laugh for nearly a half-century. His humor resonates so well with Americans that his concerts still sell out across the country. His iconic television sitcom, “The Bob Newhart Show” (1972-1978), made him a household name and set the stage for a generation of TV shows. PBS recently saluted his career with an “American Masters” presentation. And his first book, “I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This,” became a New York Times bestseller. Newhart will share his humorous perspective of American life.

On Oct. 17, Levin, Michigan’s senior U.S. senator, will provide insights into international and national issues that have the most impact locally. Time magazine recently named him one of “America’s Top 10 Senators.” The publication noted that the Detroit native “has gained respect from both parties for his attention to detail and deep knowledge of policy.” Over his 30-plus years as senator, Levin has been instrumental in leading initiatives to help American manufacturers compete domestically and globally; he serves as chairman of the Senate’s powerful Armed Services Committee; and is co-chair of the Senate’s Great Lakes Task Force.

Mexican-born soprano opera singer Padilla will close the fall session on Nov. 22. As first runner-up in the biggest talent competition in the world, “America’s Got Talent,” season four, Padilla won the hearts of millions with her stunning performance. She has also received wide acclaim as a soloist of many symphonic events in the United States, Italy and Mexico. Yet it is her story of surviving cancer and warding off the threat of never singing again that deeply inspires her audiences. Padilla will share her story and her voice during her pre-holiday visit.

The Club will open its spring session on Mar. 24 with broadcast journalist Koppel. Currently Koppel helps thousands of National Public Radio listeners understand the topics and events that shape our world on the midday news and talk show, “Talk of the Nation.” But it was as the nation’s longest-running daily news anchor on ABC News’ “Nightline” that Koppel had his greatest influence. His interviews and reporting touched every major news story from 1980 to 2005. He will tap into his extensive knowledge of past and current events and the people who created them in his lecture.

On April 27 The Club will host McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal is a retired four-star general and the former commander of Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the military’s most sensitive counter-terrorism units. It was under his leadership that Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003 and al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was located and killed in June 2006. A former Green Beret, McChrystal is known for his candor, innovative leadership and his warfare tactics that fused intelligence and operations.

The last speaker of the 2010-2011 series will be Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Brown on May 11. Elected to Great Britain’s Parliament in 1983, Brown shared his first office in the House of Commons with Tony Blair. The two friends worked together to secure the Labour Party’s landslide victory in 1997. For the next 10 years, Brown served as Chancellor of the Exchequer. During his tenure as chancellor, Great Britain experienced its longest-ever period of economic growth. In June 2007, Brown succeeded Blair as Prime Minister, a position he held until May 2010. Renowned for his passion for global justice and tackling climate change, Brown will provide an “across the Atlantic” perspective of world issues to members.

Attendance at the speaker series is limited to Economic Club members only. An invitation to last year’s members has been extended and renewals are required by Sept. 17. Individuals interested in joining The Club may add their names to a waiting list by visiting or calling (269) 982-6010 and leaving their names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and e-mail addresses. For more information about The Club, its speakers and membership options, visit, e-mail or call (269) 982-6010.