Society of Skeptics

The weekly Society of Skeptics series, which has been in continuous existence since 1977, is one of the premier high school lecture series in the country.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937, and has served as a forum for the discussion and debate of important national and international issues. Over the past 35-plus years, under the tutelage of history teacher Dr. Martin Miller, the weekly lecture series has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial.

In 2012, in celebration of the program's 35th anniversary, Dr. Miller looked back on its long and storied history in a summer Blair Bulletin article in which he offered his personal recollections of some of the most memorable lecturers who visited Blair.  

All lectures are at 7 p.m. in Cowan Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Please check back often for additional speakers and dates. 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
9/17/13 Alison Wright, photographer for National Geographic “Cultures of the World”
9/24/13 Sergio Troncoso, award-winning novelist “Growing Up in Texas”
10/1/13 Ron Insana, senior analyst and commentator for CNBC and father of Emily '16 "Perspective on Important Business Stories"
10/11/13 Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) organization
Please note that due to a last-minute schedule change, Skeptics has been moved from Tuesday to Friday evening
"Initiating Change in North Korea"
10/15/13 Jim Bennett '66 , activist for FairTax “A Sensible Tax Policy”
10/22/13 Quint Clarke '87 and Blair students who traveled to Kenya during summer 2013 "The Blair Education Project in Kenya"
10/29/13 Ishmael Beah, former child soldier of Sierra Leone and author of the best-selling book, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier "The Ongoing Issue of Enlisting Child Soldiers" 
11/5/13 Brian Shactman, MSNBC Anchor of "Way Too Early" "Natural Gas Revolution: Fracking"
11/12/13 Taylor Krauss, an Emmy-nominated independent American video journalist "Voices of Rwanda"
11/19/13 Rob Montz, documentary filmmaker "Juche Strong: An Investigation into North Korean Propaganda"
12/3/13 Lt. Colonel Jeff Thompson '89, special assistant to the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, GEN Martin Dempsey "U.S. National Security Issues"
1/7/14 Doug Bandow, Cato Institute  "A Closer Look at China"
1/14/14 Young Alumni Return to Campus Alumni presentations on their careers
1/20/14 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: Panelists will include Aisha Gayle Turner '98, Nisha Dass and Jerome Joseph, who work for Teach for America, as well as Jama Toung, chief development officer at ExpandED Schools by TASC, and 

Erskine Glover, principal of the Quitman Community School in Newark, N.J. 

"Education and the Vision of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."
1/28/14 Larry Moss, director and acting coach "On Acting"
2/11/14 Daniel Goldhagen, author and uncle of Thomas '16 "On Antisemitism" (James Youngelson ’53 Lecture on Ethics and Responsibility)
2/25/14 Glenn LeBouef, Civil War historian "Failure at Gettysburg: 15 Decisions That Doomed The Confederacy"
3/25/14 John Haines, Foreign Policy Research Institute and father of Annicka '17 "Crisis in Ukraine"
3/27/14 Irish human rights lawyers Kevin Winters and Niall Murphy  "Secrets of the British Dirty War in Ireland"
4/1/14 Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of author Bram Stoker "The Mysteries Behind the Writing Dracula & How Bram Stoker Influenced the Evolution of Vampires in Today's Popular Culture"
4/8/14 Famed American poet Billy Collins, who was the U.S. poet laureate from 2001-2003 "A Poetry Reading"

John Manners, director of The Kenyan Scholar-Athlete Project

"How One Kenyan Tribe Produces the World's Best Runners"
4/29/14 Paul Thornton, Associate Headmaster of Advancement at St. Benedict's Prep School James Youngelson ’53 Lecture on Ethics and Responsibility
5/6/14 Blair Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Kimmelman P '12 '13 '15 Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: "The Natural Gas Revolution"