I want to convey a thank you to the MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition (AC&E) Committee and League staff for changing the AC&E pricing format to encourage a larger participation from member credit unions at this year’s Convention.
Our credit union will be doing its part and is sending an additional staff member to this year’s event. Our Director of Lending Sharon Kapalla will be attending the AC&E with myself and my Executive VP Barbara Clark.
Thank you again!
Donald J. Mills
Alpena Alcona Area CU (BO)
A familiar venue will have a rather unfamiliar look when Michigan credit union leaders gather May 19-21 for the 2005 MCUL Annual Convention and Exposition (AC&E). Non-residents of the AC&E host city, who have not visited Grand Rapids since the 2003 MCUL Convention, will find a very different look to the city skyline.
The venerable Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium — a fixture in downtown Grand Rapids since the depth of the Great Depression — has passed into memory. For 70 years, “the Civic” hosted entertainment as varied as the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Nelson Eddy, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman, The Association, Bob Seeger, Chuck Berry, Ozzy Osborne, Def Leppard, Uriah Heep, Robin Williams, Simon and Garfunkel and Johnny Cash. Golden Gloves tournaments, the Shrine Circus, ice shows, basketball games — all found a home in its familiar confines.
Rechristened the Welsh Auditorium in the 1980s, this major Michigan convention site played host through the years to the American Bar Association, the Michigan Democratic and Republican conventions and, of course, the MCUL — which has archive photos of credit union gatherings there dating back to the 1940s and ‘50s. In fact, the MCUL AC&E was the very last event held at the old Welsh Auditorium, which officially closed its doors on June 1, 2003.
In its stead is the new DeVos Place, a $220 million architectural and technological marvel boasting some 1 million square feet of floor space. A strikingly futuristic glass, steel and brick edifice with a roof designed to resemble a wave’s curl, DeVos Place towers imposingly along the Grand River on 13 acres of prime real estate.
As a history buff, I regret the passing of a Michigan icon like the Civic Auditorium — but I also recognize there are times when progress must trump preservation. Happily, Grand Rapids appears to have found a way to placate both. While demolition experts felled the 2.3-million pound roof of the Civic Auditorium back in 2004, the 72-year-old Civic Auditorium’s easily recognizable classical, columnar limestone facade has been preserved at the south end of the new convention center. Also preserved is a portion of the Civic’s richly ornate lobby, which utilized lush walnut veneers, border panels and marble slabs imported from as far away as Europe and Australia.
Of course, there will be much more to see and do at the 2005 MCUL AC&E than explore the new Grand Rapids convention center. A dynamic AC&E agenda of education, entertainment and excitement has once again been assembled under the 2005 theme, “Full Steam Ahead.” That’s an apt metaphor for today’s progressive, forward-thinking credit union movement — and it makes the DeVos Place an especially appropriate backdrop for the 2005 AC&E.
Following a practice first begun in 1992, this edition of Contact Magazine also includes the MCUL/CUcorp Annual Report, a concise yet comprehensive summary of the events and financial trends affecting your trade association and its affiliate over the previous year. Despite challenges poised by a sluggish state economy, the MCUL and Michigan credit unions performed solidly in 2004 — as the MCUL/CUcorp Annual Report clearly shows. You’ll find the special Annual Report section beginning on Page 13.
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