The first Society of Skeptics of 2018-2019 focused on September 11, specifically the personal recollection of a Blair alumnus and parent who was in New York City the day the Twin Towers fell in 2001. The presentation took place on September 18 in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration.
Former equities trader Chris Wolfe ’85, P’18 ’20 shared his experience as he witnessed events unfold in downtown New York City, underscoring how much September 11th changed America and the world—from how we go through airport security to a shift in immigration policy to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ongoing global war on terror.
“In my opinion, 9/11 is the most significant date in recent American history, and many of the students to whom I’ll be speaking were not even born yet when it happened,” said Mr. Wolfe, who saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center from the window of his Guardian Life 20th-floor office at Hanover Square in 2001. Chris now works in Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch in Morristown, New Jersey. “I don’t want that day to become a distant memory. It was the first and only time that the United States mainland was attacked (Pearl Harbor not being on the mainland), and close to 3,000 people died in the span of 102 minutes. I want Blair students to realize the significance of 9/11 and never forget how much it changed people’s lives forever.”
The idea for the Skeptics presentation came about during daughter Sydney ’20’s softball game last spring, at which Mr. Wolfe enjoyed the opportunity to talk to his favorite Blair teacher and Skeptics director Martin Miller, PhD. Having worked five blocks from the World Trade Center in 2001, he shared his firsthand account of the attack and its aftermath and how amazed he was that his daughters didn’t know more about what happened that day. A few weeks later, Dr. Miller emailed asking if he would start the year off by sharing his story with the Blair community.
The presentation included a bit of history and some facts related to 9/11, as well as the personal tales of Mr. Wolfe, leaving time for a question-and-answer session. Dr. Miller looked forward to an engaging discussion that will leave Blair students with a deeper understanding of what the events of 9/11 mean and the impact they continue to have on the world.
The History of Skeptics
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.
To watch a video of the presentation click "play" below.