As inventor of the index mutual fund and founder of The Vanguard Group, the late Chairman Emeritus of the Blair Board of Trustees John C. Bogle ’47 was a financial industry titan and an unrelenting champion of individual investors. The Society of Skeptics examined Mr. Bogle’s towering legacy in the world of investing during a special panel presentation at this year’s Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The event was held on Tuesday, April 30 in the Chiang Center for Innovation and Collaboration.
Gina Moore P’19, a licensed CPA and CFA charterholder and principal at investment advisor AJO, was the event moderator. She facilitated conversation between two financial industry experts—both of whom knew Mr. Bogle personally—who shared analysis and insight into his legendary career. The panelists included Joanne M. Hill, PhD, P’10, a 25-year Wall Street veteran who currently serves on the CFA Institute Research Foundation Board & Cboe Vest LLC and F. William McNabb III, CEO of The Vanguard Group from 2008 to 2018 and the firm’s current board chairman.
Blair history teacher and longtime Skeptics coordinator Martin Miller, PhD, expressed gratitude to Dr. Hill, who was instrumental in engaging the speakers for this special Skeptics. Dr. Miller anticipated a great many anecdotes from the panelists, as well as consideration of Mr. Bogle’s enduring impact in the financial industry. He noted that, in 2002, Mr. Bogle was the first speaker in Blair’s Herman Hollerith Lecture series. “Jack Bogle was the ultimate innovator with his invention of the index mutual fund,” Dr. Miller said. “With his passing in January at the age of 89, it is absolutely fitting that we focused on his legacy at our final Skeptics of the year.”
The annual Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established at Blair in 2001 by Richard Hollerith Jr., father of Susan S. (Hollerith) Cashin '85. The series is named in memory of Mr. Hollerith's grandfather, Herman Hollerith, the son of German immigrants and an 1879 graduate of the Columbia College School of Mines. In 1890, Herman Hollerith developed an electrically driven census system that reads punch cards, and 21 years later, his office machine business merged with Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co., which changed its name to IBM in 1924. The Economist magazine has named the punch card/data tabulation revolution one of the most significant innovations in the last 500 years.
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.