Society of Skeptics

Established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues, the Society of Skeptics has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States.

Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, ask questions and debate points of view.

The program is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Dr. Elliott Trommald Hon. '65 established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; Dr. Martin Miller took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption.

Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics features a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial.

All lectures are at 7 p.m. in Cowan Auditorium unless otherwise noted. To see photos or videos of past lectures, click on the date, name of the speaker or the title of the program below. 

Date Speaker Topic
9/13/16 Alison Wright, National Geographic award-winning photographer 
Location: Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts' DuBois Theatre
"Women at Work in Developing Countries"
9/20/16 Major (Ret.) Jason Howk, author & lecturer "Islam, Islamism, and ISIS" 
9/27/16 Rollie Peterkin '06, author
"From Wharton School and Wall Street... to Cage Fighting"
10/4/16 Young Alumni Skeptics       Alumni will give presentations on their careers.


Foodshed Alliance

"Building a Resilient Local Food System"


Canceled: Nick Labar, director of business development at Foundations Wellness Center

"Drug Addiction: 2016"
10/25/16 Nyle Fort, minister, scholar & community activist "Newark: Urban Issues"
11/1/16 Blair Debate Team "Mock Presidential Debate"
11/8/16 Blair History Department Faculty "Results of Blair's Presidential Election"
11/15/16 Richie Kohler, host of The History Channel's "Deep Sea Detectives" "Wreck Diving Exploration"
11/29/16 Debbie Irving, author "Issues of Racial Justice" 
1/10/17 Postponed : Doug Bandow, Cato Institute    "Presidential Politics"
1/17/17 Canceled: Bonnie St. John, Medal Winner downhill skiing, 1984 Paralympics, Author "Instructions for Doing Impossible Things"
1/24/17 Doug Bandow, Cato Institute
"Presidential Politics"
1/31/17 Emily Reid, cybersecurity specialist "Girls Who Code"
2/14/17 Glenn LeBoeuf, author & lecturer "The Making of an Abolitionist: Abraham Lincoln's Evolving Views on Slavery" 
2/28/17 Major (Ret.) Jason Howk, author & lecturer "The Trump Doctrine: Foreign Policy Under the New Administration"
3/28/17 James Moore, lawyer and art critic "Great Art: Cardsharps, Saints, Beheadings and Murder
The Life and Times of Caravaggio
4/4/17 Joe Drape, writer for The New Times & author "Sports in Society"
4/11/17 John Moore P'19 , angel investor, Investors' Circle Philadelphia
Liz Sigety P'16 '18 '20 '21, partner, Fox Rothschild LLP
Ron Insana P'16 '20, CNBC contributor
Scott Shirley, CEO of PledgeIt
*Herman Hollerith Lecture on Entrepreneurship & Innovation

"Blair Tank: An Entrepreneur Pitches an Idea to Investors"
4/18/17 Robert Neff "The Writing of a Novel"
4/25/17 John Inkeles, Justice Department lawyer "Immigration Issues"