Rollie Peterkin ’06 returned to his alma mater on September 27 to discuss his unlikely career path from Wall Street bond trader to professional cage fighter in Peru at the Society of Skeptics. Author of the 2016 memoir The Cage: Escaping the American Dream, Mr. Peterkin addressed the Blair community at 7 p.m. in Bogle Hall’s Cowan Auditorium.
To watch a video of his presentation, click "play" below.
An outstanding wrestler who pursued the sport at the highest levels at Blair and the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Peterkin hung up his wrestling shoes after a heartbreaking senior-year loss that kept him from the NCAA podium. He took a job as a corporate bond trader following his Penn graduation, but three years into life as a young professional in New York City, a vacation in Peru opened his eyes to an exciting—if unorthodox—career change: He decided to quit his desk job and become a mixed martial arts fighter in the South American country.
“So many people tried to talk me out of it,” Mr. Peterkin said in a 2014 interview with inspiremore.com. “And they almost did at times. People made really good points about my future and the lasting impact of my decisions, but at the end of the day, I had to do it. Sometimes it scares me to think that someone might have talked me out of it. I know that if I hadn’t done this, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I would have always asked, ‘What if?’”
Injuries ended Mr. Peterkin’s cage-fighting days after a year; he has since moved to Europe, where he has undertaken a new career as a writer and teacher. He blogs about his life and adventures at www.rolliepeterkin.com.
The Society of Skeptics 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. 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 Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as 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. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.