The lesson of living from Randy Pausch


This is not the usual post, this is the story of Randy Pausch, a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh.

Randy is dying, but in the process, he's teaching millions of people about living. Randy was told last August that his pancreatic cancer had spread and he had just three to six months to live. He's 47 and has three kids—almost 2, 3 and 6—and a wife he clearly adores.

Most of us would slip into a deep depression, but Randy used the experience as teaching material. And thanks to YouTube, his lecture doesn't require any tuition checks. His scenes from a life are punctuated with humor and humility. He deadpans, "My mother took great relish in introducing me as 'This is my son—he's a doctor but not the kind that helps people.'" After showing the walls of his childhood bedroom covered with his drawings of rocket ships and math equations, he tells his audience, "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."

Pausch delivered his "Last Lecture," titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk," i.e., "what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?"
Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, "Make me earn it," some in the audience shouted back, "You did!"
During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage.

After Pausch finished his lecture, Steve Seabolt, on behalf of Electronic Arts, which is now collaborating with CMU in the development of Alice 3.0, pledged to honor Pausch by creating a memorial scholarship for women in computer science in recognition of Pausch's support and mentoring of women in CS and engineering.

Here you can find his updated medical information.
He also wrote an inspiring book to inspire us all to live each day of our lives with purpose and joy.

Good luck, dear Randy.

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