Tony & Jonna Mendez | UT Dallas AETC Lecture
Source: UT Dallas
What do Ben Affleck, Tony and Jonna Mendez have in common? They were all involved in the making of the Academy Award (for Best Picture) winning film Argo. Tony and Jonna are both retired CIA officers after over 20 years of service and the fascinating stories to go along with it. Tony chronicled his involvement in a rescue operation of hostages trapped in the Canadian embassy in Tehran in his book, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History which was inspiration for the feature film.
The couple was recently invited to the University of Texas at Dallas to share the story behind Argo as part of their Arts and Technology Distinguished Lecture Series. Their well received presence resulted in the highest number of ticket sales out of all other lectures from the season and received a glowing review from Director of Alumni Relations, Melinda Mendoza-Ellis:
"So let me start by saying it was VERY well received. As a comparison, below is a chart of the 4 shows/lectures we ran this season. Your show blew the other out of the water with the amount of paid tickets!
Many of our lectures are science based and very technical and thus can be over many of our constituents heads. As you can see by comparing the number of tickets sold/asked for per lecture, yours was the one that everyone was most interested in hearing. Many of our guests, board members, donors and even students, commented that it was very interesting, held their attention, entertaining and also informative. In fact, your lecture has helped to prove to us that our constituents want to hear from more mainstream lecturers. Because of the overwhelming positive response, we will now continue to book a more mainstream lecture too.
Your story is interesting. People want and need to hear it. People love to live vicariously through you and hear about your fascinating life and service to our country (just ask my mom J ). I don’t think it is time to pack the tent up. No one here was disappointed. All were impressed. All wanted to hear more."