By Gabriella Ciaccio
Frank Abagnale, author of ‘Catch Me if You Can’ came to KU on April 6 and spoke in Schaffer auditorium about his life and experiences. Many students attended the event and were excited to hear stories about the time he served in French, Swedish and U.S. prisons, and how he has helped the federal government by teaching federal law enforcement agencies.
“I [was] very excited about the event,” said Keystone Editor-in-Chief, Antaneyah Johnson. “I never read the book or watched the movie, I just wanted to see Frank because I wanted to. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a man that did those crimes and actually lived to tell the tale?”
Abagnale talked a lot about his experiences with the federal government, but he also discussed family values and his regrets. He talked passionately about how badly he wanted to survive and how he did not want to run from the system.
He also gave students some great advice about keeping information private. He highly suggested not to put personal information on Facebook, and to only take pictures in a group–never alone. He also highly recommended only using credit cards and not debit cards.
“I loved hearing the story from his perspective because for so long, I had only known the story from the movie,” said KU student, Taylor Van Kooten. “He was so real and true when he spoke of his life and it made me inspired to achieve greatness through my passions. It was different hearing about how depressed he was during his years running around because everyone thinks [he] was living the high life, but in actuality he had to spend every holiday or birthday in a hotel room.”
Today, Abagnale is a very successful man. He has a whopping 14,000 institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies using the fraud prevention programs he created. His success has guided him to becoming to spokesperson for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Cyber Security Alliance. In 1998 he was selected as a distinguished member of “Pinnacle 400,” a select group of 400 people who have demonstrated great success in their fields.
“Attending this event made me appreciate that life is long,” said Johnson. “It’s fine to make mistakes along the way, and by the end of it, it made me happy that he came and told us his story and that he changed throughout. I hope he comes back next year.”