The Schenectady Torch Club is a member of the International Association of Torch Clubs (IATC) that consists of many local semi-autonomous clubs. A complete list of clubs is given on the web page of the IATC, the Schenectady Club being in Region One. The mission of a Torch Club is to extol controversy while promoting free interchange among its members on intellectual and cultural subjects including, but not restricted to, civic, religious, philosophic, scientific, economic, artistic, political, and other similar topics. We champion neither specific causes nor do we subscribe to any propaganda or ideologies. In the broadest terms the Schenectady Torch Club seeks to stimulate understanding among the learned professions with the conviction that its members will gain a mutual understanding of each other and thus appreciate the function each plays in our society.
The Schenectady Torch Club was chartered in 1931. The first meeting was held on Tuesday, January 20 of that year at the Van Curler Hotel. The speaker was Dr. George B. Cutten, President of Colgate, whose talk was entitled "Is Man Doomed to Extinction?" The dinner cost was $2.00.
Schenectady Torch is proud to have been the first IATC member club to admit women, having voted to do so unanimously in 1973. It has since elected four female presidents. Schenectady Torch continues to pioneer the broadest possible spectrum of membership commensurate with its commitment to serve the professional community. The Club has more than 30 active members drawn from the local private and public sector professional communities.
The Club meets at 6:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month from October through May. The current venue is the Turf Tavern in Scotia. A Torch evening consists of a reception and dinner followed by a speaker who is most often a Club member but who also may be an outside guest. Members are encouraged to bring guests to any meeting, but are especially encouraged to do so for the May "Guests' Night" meeting.
Membership is open to all professions. Potential new members are usually sponsored by two or more members and are introduced to the Club at one meeting and, should they apply to join, are voted to membership at a later meeting.
The annual cost of membership is set by the Torch officers the summer before each Torch season. The current dues are $65 per year and are payable before the October meeting. Our national dues cover three issues per year of Torch Magazine, which reprints transcripts of those talks chosen as the best ones from among those nominated by local clubs. Meals can either be purchased in advance, at a discount, or individually at each meeting.
Use the links below to view / download PDF files with additional information about the Schenectady Torch Club's leadership now and since inceptions, as well as our programs for the current year (2019-2020), and past programs.