History

The Economic Club of Chicago was founded in 1927 by Lucius Teter, president of the Chicago Trust Company. Teter and his co-founders wisely understood that simply listening to speeches did not stimulate and encourage leadership. Rather, they wanted to provide a venue for experienced leaders to meet with future leaders so they could pass on to them their business and civic ideas and ideals.

Ultimately, they invited 800 rising young executives and 200 of Chicago’s senior business leaders to join the Club. Together, they invited the foremost authorities on contemporary economic and business ideas to join them for debate and discussion.

The Club’s mission has stood the test of time. For over eight decades and through many generations of leaders, the Club’s membership has reflected the changing economic scene and diversity of leadership in the wider community.

The ECC strongly believes that people benefit from hearing both sides of an issue. For this reason, the Club does not take a position on issues; instead, it provides a forum for discussion and debate.

Over the years, members have been challenged by the thoughts and ideas shared by international heads of state, U.S. Presidents, CEOs, journalists, educators, labor leaders and historians. No one could buy a better education, attend a better university or sit before a more fascinating collection of professors than those who attended the Club’s meetings.

We have collected clips from some of the most memorable ECC speeches and invite you to watch them here. For a deeper dive into the Club’s history, you can download our 75th Anniversary Book History’s Witnesses, which traces the Club’s history through the accounts of its speakers and its leaders.