Director Gleaves Whitney introduced the noontime speaker — Hank Meijer — at the fifth and final installment of the Hauenstein Center’s Hamilton Lecture Series.
Hank Meijer, co-chairman and co-CEO of Meijer Inc., authored a forthcoming book on Grand Rapids’ most famous senator, Arthur Vandenberg. Throughout his life Senator Vandenberg idolized Alexander Hamilton, and in his public career he modeled his conduct on Hamilton’s.
Vandenberg, in fact, authored three books on Hamilton’s life and career. Although his style was a bit flowery by our modern standards, Vandenberg had begun his career as a newspaperman and was considered a very good writer.
Hamilton and Vandenberg shared a lot in common. Both were born and raised in the provinces but became larger-than-life figures in the nation’s capitol. Both became party leaders and spokesman for American internationalism. Both were considered presidential material at one time. Finally, both were indispensable to the success of someone else’s presidency — Hamilton to Washington’s and Vandenberg to Truman’s.
Hank Meijer shares research with Grand Valley Vice President Patricia Oldt (left) and Hauenstein Center founding benefactor Ralph Hauenstein (right).
Meijer continues his discussion of Hamilton and Vandenberg with Oldt, Hauenstein, and Whitney.
The audience for Meijer’s talk consisted of 40 individuals from the Grand Rapids and Grand Valley communities, including Don Lubber (left), Kyle Irwin (second from left), and Win Irwin (second from right).
Left to right: Gleaves Whitney, Hayley Meijer, Hank Meijer, Fred Meijer, Ralph Hauentein, and Lena Meijer.