Society of Skeptics
My goal throughout all of these years has been to expose students to as many ideas as possible by inviting an eclectic group of speakers to campus. The series encourages kids to be skeptical and ask questions, rather than accept what is said at face value.
Martin Miller, PhD, director of Blair's Society of Skeptics
Blair’s Society of Skeptics program was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Without exception, every Tuesday night at 7 p.m., speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas come to campus to share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, ask questions and debate points of view.
The program's roots date back to the late 1970s when former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established a regular forum for student discussion and debate. History teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption.
At Skeptics, students learn to listen critically to different perspectives; equally important, they are encouraged to engage in provocative question-and-answer sessions, and discussions about Tuesday-evening presentations often extend into Wednesday as students and teachers continue to debate salient issues in classrooms and dormitories. Annual lectures include the endowed annual Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as a young alumni panel that shares post-Blair academic and professional experiences and perspectives.
Many students make it a point to attend every Skeptics lecture throughout the year; by participating regularly in the program, students demonstrate that they can direct their own learning, engage with the world beyond Blair, and place what they are learning in the classroom into a larger global context. For more information about upcoming speakers, click on this page's calendar; to read about some of the program's most popular lecturers and to view an archive of recent speakers, please click on the buttons below.