DJ Grothe is the New JREF President

Congrats to DJ, and best of luck to Phil in all the exciting stuff he has planned! (Update: Phil has posted about it here.)Here’s the press release:

James Randi Educational Foundation Names New President

Fort Lauderdale, FL – The James Randi Educational Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of noted skeptic organizer D.J. Grothe as the JREF’s new President. Grothe will succeed Dr. Philip Plait, who is leaving to pursue an opportunity in television.

Grothe joins the JREF following a 10-year career at the Center for Inquiry, where he most recently served as Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs. In his role at CFI, Grothe helped establish a robust grassroots program encompassing a network of 26 North American branches of the Center, as well as 180 affiliated skeptical and freethought campus groups. Formerly a professional magician, he has also hosted the popular radio show and podcast Point of Inquiry since 2005, exploring the role of science and skepticism in society.

“After considering several impressively qualified candidates, we have decided that D. J. Grothe is our choice to lead the JREF,” said James Randi, Founder and Chairman of the Board. “D. J. has made significant contributions to the organized skeptical movement, is a well-known figure in the skeptic community, and his track record speaks for itself. He has displayed the strong leadership and dedication to innovation required to take the JREF to the next level.”

Randi also said, “We are grateful for the leadership of our current President Phil Plait, and while we’re sad to see him go in a formal capacity, he will always be a part of the JREF family.”

Plait, who became President in August 2008, agrees: “Leaving the JREF was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. It has been an incredible honor to serve the mission of the Foundation and Randi himself for the past year. I’ve known and respected D. J. for many years, and I know he’ll do a fantastic job running the show.” Plait will continue to work with the JREF in an informal advisory capacity.

Upon accepting the position Grothe said, “The JREF is one of the world’s great skeptical organizations, with a proud history of promoting critical thinking regarding paranormal and supernatural beliefs. It’s a great honor to join the JREF team and have the opportunity to build on its success, and especially to work with James Randi, a hero of mine since I was a young magician.”

Grothe will take up his new duties on January 1, 2010.

D. J. Grothe Biography

D. J. Grothe, 36, is incoming President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Prior to joining the JREF, he spent ten years with the Center For Inquiry, where he served most recently as Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs.

An associate editor of Free Inquiry magazine, he frequently speaks on topics surrounding science and central beliefs at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

He has hosted the popular radio show and podcast Point of Inquiry since 2005, discussing fundamental questions with the world’s thought leaders, exploring the implications of the scientific outlook for society’s most cherished convictions.

Formerly a professional magician, Grothe studies the nature of deception and self-deception, and his strong background in magic informs his perspective on the challenges that skeptics bring to parapsychology and paranormal claims.

For more information please see

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Wow, congratulations all around. I wonder if this means Phil got Skeptologists signed. If that’s the case, Dr. Novella must know, too, which means Rebecca could find out, too, if she doesn’t know already. Hmm, small skeptical world.

  2. While it’s sad to see Phil step down so soon, DJ is an impeccable choice to take his place. Hopefully this won’t impact the Point of Inquiry podcast though!

  3. Arrrrghh, the curiosity is driving me batty. Will PoI continue, will D.J. still do it if it continues or will there be a new host? What is the super secret TV project, what channell will it be on, will I have to call my cable company and beg them to get some channel I don’t get already? Damn, damn, damn.

    Oh yeah congratulations guys.

  4. Well, that was a quick run with Phil!

    Sorry to say I’m not familar with DJ Grothe.
    From his short bio here, he sounds like the right man for the job!

  5. Consider this a shot across the bow. Us gays are about to straight up take over the skeptical movement. He’ll get Elton John as the president of CFI, Ellen will take over skepchick, and Lance Bass will take over SGU. Men will no longer be allowed to say “boobies”, sorry Gabriel”, and no one will be allowed to attend TAM unless they are looking fabulous.

  6. D.J. will do a great job as JREF President! With his magic & skeptical cred, not to mention his unmistakable speaking ability, he’s a natural. It sounds like Phil has some excellent prospects ahead that engendered this move, so I’d say it’s a win-win–at least so long as Point of Inquiry and CFI Outreach aren’t adversely impacted, and I’m confident those will continue in good hands. This is good time to be a skeptic.

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