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, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Dr. Elliott Trommald H'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
9/16/14 Haider Hamza, Iraqi journalist, scholar & activist "Humanizing War: The Experiences of Soldiers & Civilians During Conflict"
9/23/14 Dr. Jane Ferry, MD, FACEP, MMM & Colleagues  "Medical Project in Kenya"
9/30/14 Alison Wright, photographer for National Geographic “Congo & South Sudan”
10/7/14 Jerry Paffendorf, CEO of LoveLand Technologies "Detroit: The Rise, Fall & Possible Rise of a Major U.S. City"
10/14/14          Hudson Taylor '05, co-founder of Athlete Ally "On Tolerance"
10/21/14 Blair's Debate Team "On Balance, the Benefits of Genetically Modified Foods Outweigh the Harms"
10/28/14 Dr. James Dickerson, PhD, Brookhaven National Laboratory  "Nanotechnology"
11/11/14 Alex Troy P'14 '15 "Amistad: The Charter School Experience"
11/18/14 Jim Thaller, managing director of Talier Trading Group, Inc. & senior agribusiness advisor of The World Bank "Agricultural Innovation in Developing Countries"
12/2/14 Rev. Robert D. Higgs, executive director of Old Historic Trust "350 Years of New Jersey History: Lessons for Today"
12/9/14 Amy Litzenberger, co-founder of Take the Lead "On Removing Obstacles to Leadership Roles for Women in Business"
1/6/15 Rob Montz "Cuba's Economic Reforms"
1/13/15 Doug Bandow, Cato Institute "Legalization of Drugs"
1/19/15 A Special Monday-Evening Skeptics Program to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Young Alumni Panel

*This event has been canceled due to inclement weather. 

Alumni will give presentations on their careers.
2/10/15 Lois Pryce, author "What It’s Like to Motorcycle Solo Through Iran as a Woman"
2/24/15 Josh Sanborn, chairman of the history department at Lafayette College "A Conversation About US/Russian Relations"
3/24/15 Dr. David Robinson, PhD, New Jersey State Climatologist & geography professor at Rutgers University "Climate Change"

Ronn Cort P'16, COO of Sekisui SPI

Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation & Entrepreneurship

"3-D Printing Revolution"
4/7/15 Steven Kampmann, former Blair faculty member "Dreams"
4/14/15 Zak Taylor '94,  Twitter "From Crazy Ideas to Software Companies"

Walter Fortson, NJ Regional Field Manager

James Youngelson Lecture on Ethics & Responsibility 

"The Petey Greene Program: Tutoring in Prisons"
4/28/15 Dr. Jose Lopez, professor of physics at Seton Hall University "Tiny Solutions to Huge Problems: How Thinking Small Can Help Save the World"