Bringing heavyweights to Hopkins

Image caption: Former CIA agents Jonna and Tony Mendez on Oct. 17. Tony was portrayed by Ben Affleck in Argo.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Francesca Pinelli is marketing chair for the 2013 Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium

"After months of planning, there is nothing more rewarding and exhilarating than watching our speakers take the stage in front of a packed Shriver Hall. The selection process begins six months before our guests join us on campus. Our undergraduate staff begins by brainstorming new ways to fundraise, and develops a "dream list" of potential speakers. We work closely with speakers' bureaus to put together a dynamic and diverse lineup that is within our budget and also appeals to both the Johns Hopkins and Baltimore communities.

"Filling the 1,100-plus seats in Shriver is a difficult task, but with catchy designs, full body cutouts of our speakers, and a strong/cohesive social media strategy, my team has done an excellent job of energizing the community, and encouraging them to join us at all of our events.

"As college students, some of the strongest lessons we learn are not in a lecture hall but instead in an auditorium like this, listening to those who have directly impacted the policies and movements that are shaping our present global situation. Hearing from Jon Favreau, the 32-year-old former director of speechwriting for President Obama, about his one-on-one interactions with the president in the Oval Office, and learning about the inside details of the Argo mission from former CIA agent Tony Mendez, who successfully rescued six American hostages during the Iran crisis, provides students with many definitions of success.

"Attending these lectures gives us, as undergraduates, insight into the complex issues we face today—an opportunity I view as invaluable."