About the University Club of Grand Rapids

Get To Know Us

The University Club of Grand Rapids is an exquisite private club with over 90 years of continued entertainment, social camaraderie, and fitness strength. Membership at the Club gives you the opportunity to build key relationships with valued clients over a quiet lunch or kick back and make some deals over a few cocktails. The Club serves breakfast, lunch and dinner accommodating all business and entertaining needs. With usage of over 100 reciprocal clubs around the world, membership at the Club provides for a great way to travel.

Your Private Club

A Meeting Place

The University Club is the perfect place for enjoying a business lunch with a new client, improving your stamina with a workout session, or networking over cocktails with other professionals. With reciprocal privileges at more than 100 private clubs across the country, membership at the University Club provides for a lifetime of personal and professional associations.

History of the University Club

With Roots in Grand Rapids Since 1891

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1891

Charles E. Stearn of the Harvard Class of 1891 is due the credit of starting the University Club of Grand Rapids. Others had previously mentioned the possibility of such a club, but it was he, with his characteristic enthusiasm, who saw that the idea became a reality. Others shared his vision, gladly assuming their part of the responsibility in the proposed enterprise.

1923

The first informal meeting was held in January, 1923, at the home of Lemuel S. Hillman, with representatives from Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Princeton, Amherst and Colgate. The conference ended at a late hour, the Club still in the embryonic state.

1923

Less than a month later, the Club was actually brought into existence on the evening of February 6th, 1923. A list of potential members was informally selected by those present, limited by vote to one hundred.  Dues were set at $25. Attractive and convenient quarters were established in the Pantlind Hotel with Clay H. Hollister serving as the first president.

1931

In the brief period of six years, the Club grew from one hundred to two hundred and fifty members and in April 1931, moved to the top of the Michigan Trust Building.  The Fifth Third Center (formerly Old Kent Bank building) became its present home in the Spring of 1966.

1989

The University Club and the Grand Rapids Athletic Club, located in the basement of the Fifth Third Center, merged its membership in the fall of 1989. This transaction resulted in boosting Club membership to its current six hundred plus members.

2004

The Press Club joined the University Club in January of 2004. Press Club members enjoy the same privileges as Social Members.

Today

Besides developing a congenial atmosphere and a spirit of good fellowship, the Club has established itself as a truly successful organization. The University Club is a tribute to its founders and its current membership.

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1891

Charles E. Stearn of the Harvard Class of 1891 is due the credit of starting the University Club of Grand Rapids. Others had previously mentioned the possibility of such a club, but it was he, with his characteristic enthusiasm, who saw that the idea became a reality. Others shared his vision, gladly assuming their part of the responsibility in the proposed enterprise.

1923

The first informal meeting was held in January, 1923, at the home of Lemuel S. Hillman, with representatives from Harvard, Yale, Michigan, Princeton, Amherst and Colgate. The conference ended at a late hour, the Club still in the embryonic state.

1923

Less than a month later, the Club was actually brought into existence on the evening of February 6th, 1923. A list of potential members was informally selected by those present, limited by vote to one hundred.  Dues were set at $25. Attractive and convenient quarters were established in the Pantlind Hotel with Clay H. Hollister serving as the first president.

1931

In the brief period of six years, the Club grew from one hundred to two hundred and fifty members and in April 1931, moved to the top of the Michigan Trust Building.  The Fifth Third Center (formerly Old Kent Bank building) became its present home in the Spring of 1966.

1989

The University Club and the Grand Rapids Athletic Club, located in the basement of the Fifth Third Center, merged its membership in the fall of 1989. This transaction resulted in boosting Club membership to its current six hundred plus members.

2004

The Press Club joined the University Club in January of 2004. Press Club members enjoy the same privileges as Social Members.

Today

Besides developing a congenial atmosphere and a spirit of good fellowship, the Club has established itself as a truly successful organization. The University Club is a tribute to its founders and its current membership.

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Explore The Club

Check Out All We Have To Offer

Take a tour of The Club with our virtual tour! From our Dining Rooms to our Gym, we’ve given you the ability to explore The Club without even having to leave your office or home. Like what you see? Join us today! We would love to get to know you! Celebrate with us, work out with us, call The University Club your home.

Meet The Team

Our personalized service is an integral element in the overall University Club experience.  Our General Manager, Laurie Kelbel, along with our management staff, service staff and athletic personnel, are willing and able to meet your special requests.  Please let us know how we can assist you!

Board of Directors

James Brady, President
Finance, Personnel, Scholarship &  Strategic Planning Committees
Tom Ranville, Vice President
Athletic & Scholarship Committees
Shirley Boundy, Secretary 
House, Press Club & Social Committees
Larry Oberst, Treasurer 
Finance Committee

Dixie Anderson, Director
Marketing Committee
John Byl, Director
Marketing & Strategic Planning Committees
Kimberly Coleman, Director
House, Social & Strategic Planning Committees
Frank Dunten, Director
Strategic Planning Committee

Valerie Feehan, Director
House, Personnel & Scholarship Committees
Michael Hay, Director
Athletic & Finance Committees
Shelley Irwin, Director
Marketing, Press Club  & Scholarship Committees
Thomson Pantlind, Director
Athletic & Finance Committees

Mark Smith, Director
Personnel Committee
Marilyn Zack, Director
Scholarship & Social Committees
Laurie Kelbel, Director
General Manager

A Carefully Selected Staff That Cares About Their Service
Laurie Kelbel

Laurie Kelbel

General Manager
Katie Blaauw

Katie Blaauw

Assistant Manager
Jason Goodell

Jason Goodell

Athletic Club Director
Pam Sommer

Pam Sommer

Office Manager
Leslie Wysocki

Leslie Wysocki

Event Coordinator
Lisa Leatherman

Lisa Leatherman

Bar Manager
Mike Schoenborn

Mike Schoenborn

Executive Chef
Matt Doorlag

Matt Doorlag

Sous Chef

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