Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, was the featured speaker at the 29th annual Economic Club of Grand Rapids dinner on Tuesday, May 31. Dean Susan M. Collins interviewed Dr. Bernanke for the event, which drew 1,600 registered guests.
Each year, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids hosts a formal dinner and awards ceremony. Speakers have included Madeleine Albright, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and many other prominent figures.
At this year’s dinner, Dr. Bernanke discussed the Fed's role during the financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, including the decision to come to the aid of AIG. He also gave his perspective on the extent to which the financial system is safer today, discussed the state of the economy in the U.S. and in China, and offered a number of more personal glimpses into his leadership style and how he handled the intense pressure he was under during his tenure as Fed Chairman.
During the black-tie event, the Economic Club recognized Daniel G. DeVos, chairman and CEO of DP Fox Ventures, with its Business Person of the Year Award and Mark Murray, vice chairman of Meijer, Inc., with its Slykhouse Community Leadership Award.
More than a dozen Ford School students attended, along with many friends of President and Mrs. Ford, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
The event has been covered by a number of local media outlets:
- “Financial leader speaks to Economic Club of Grand Rapids,” WZZM: “One of the financial leaders who helped guide the U.S. through the Great Recession of 2008 spoke in Grand Rapids Tuesday night. Doctor Ben Bernanke was the guest of honor at the Economic…”
- “Ben Bernanke’s very bad day and its happy ending retold at Econ Club dinner,” MLIVE: “At any good dinner party, there are stories of adventure to be told after dessert is served. And so it was at the 29th Annual Dinner of The Economic Club of Grand Rapids on Tuesday, May 31…”
- “UM prof will challenge former Fed chairman on money policy, unsure about Trump,” MLIVE: “As she prepares to interview former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids' 29th Annual Dinner, Susan Collins said she is debating whether to ask about…”