Society of Skeptics

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I see Skeptics as a way to bring the world to Blair students and, in doing so, help inspire them to tackle the problems of the world around us.

Jason beck, director of Blair's Society of Skeptics

Blair’s Society of Skeptics program 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. Without exception, every Tuesday night at 7 p.m., speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas come to campus to share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, ask questions and debate points of view.

The program's roots date back to the late 1970s when former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established a regular forum for student discussion and debate. History teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into an acclaimed weekly lecture series. Since Dr. Miller’s retirement from Blair in 2020, history department chair Jason Beck has led the Society of Skeptics, and the program has continued without interruption.

At Skeptics, students learn to listen critically to different perspectives; equally important, they are encouraged to engage in provocative question-and-answer sessions, and discussions about Tuesday-evening presentations often extend into Wednesday as students and teachers continue to debate salient issues in classrooms and dormitories. Annual lectures include the endowed annual Herman Hollerith Lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the James Youngelson ’53 Lecture on Ethics and Responsibility, as well as a young alumni panel that shares post-Blair academic and professional experiences and perspectives.

Many students make it a point to attend every Skeptics lecture throughout the year; by participating regularly in the program, students demonstrate that they can direct their own learning, engage with the world beyond Blair, and place what they are learning in the classroom into a larger global context. For more information about upcoming speakers, to read about some of the program's most popular lecturers and to view an archive of recent speakers, please click on the buttons above.

This program is funded in part by The Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund. 

Skeptics Calendar

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Upcoming Speakers

Recent Speakers

Jay Faison

Climate change philanthropist Jay Faison is the founder of the ClearPath Foundation, an entrepreneurial, strategic nonprofit focused on the acceleration of clean energy solutions. Mr. Faison joined the Blair community virtually on April 20 to talk about climate change politics and policy during his Society of Skeptics presentation, “A Way Forward.”

Tony Jack headshot

Sociologist and author Anthony (Tony) Jack, PhD, joined the Society of Skeptics on April 13 to discuss his debut novel, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students. The event, moderated by history department chair and Society of Skeptics director Jason Beck, began at 7 p.m.

Doug Bandow

The Blair community was excited to welcome foreign policy and civil liberties expert Doug Bandow to the Society of Skeptics on April 6. His talk focused on foreign policy challenges facing President Joe Biden and his administration.