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University Club closing after 100 years

University Club of Grand Rapids

After operating for a century, Grand Rapids’ University Club has announced it will be closing due to declining membership

The University Club, which sits on the top floor of the Fifth Third Center in downtown Grand Rapids, announced its closure after operating for one hundred years. The club served as a meeting place for businesspeople, entrepreneurs and others who could socialize and network over fine cuisine and fine service. Speaking with WGVU’s Shelley Irwin on her show, Board President Tom Pantalind says that the closure is due to lack of membership.

“We didn’t see quite the momentum that we had hoped and being in the financial world, the numbers don’t lie and if we continued to operate in a function that wasn’t making money, then we just had to take the time to close.”

General Manager Mark Canak says he believes Grand Rapids will feel the effect of the closure of the club.

“This would create quite a void not only in the city but I also think in the state of Michigan. It is a central point between Chicago and Detroit. This is where businesses come together to have business lunches.”

Both Pantlind and Canak, however, say they still hope there is a place for organizations like the University Club in Grand Rapids’ future.

“I hope there are members of the community that will continue to come together and push for a vision that can be successful.”

“I am confident that the community will come forward to, if it’s not the University Club, will create a space and a place for people to meet, come together, enriching others’ lives and developing those relationships in some way, shape or form.”

The club is expected to continue operations through December.

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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