December 7, 2009

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


About the James Randi Educational Foundation

Established in 1996 as a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, The James Randi Educational Foundation promotes critical thinking about paranormal and supernatural ideas in society. It was founded by James Randi, who has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.

The Foundation conducts and disseminates research into paranormal and fringe-science claims. It offers a variety of educational resources to the public that encourage critical thinking. The Foundation hosts an annual critical thinking conference, The AMAZ!NG Meeting, which is the largest meeting of its kind in the world.

To raise public awareness of these issues, the Foundation also conducts a $1,000,000 challenge to any person or persons who can demonstrate a psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability of any kind under mutually agreed upon scientific conditions.

For more information about the JREF and its programs, please visit