Dr Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor of the "Last Lecture" fame, passed away on July 25,, 2008, after a brave battle against pancreatic cancer. He was 47.
Professors are sometimes asked to give lectures on what wisdom they would impart if they knew it was their last chance. Soon after Dr. Pausch (pronounced powsh), a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, accepted that challenge, he learned he had months to live.
He hesitated, then went ahead with the lecture, on Sept. 18, 2007. He said he intended to have fun and advised others to do the same. He spoke of the importance of childlike wonder.
But Dr. Pausch did not omit things that would break just about anybody’s heart. He spoke of his love for his wife, Jai, and had a birthday cake for her wheeled on stage. He spoke of their three young children, saying he had made his decision to speak mostly to leave them a video memory — to put himself in a metaphorical bottle that they might someday discover on a beach.
Dr Pausch delivered a condensed version of his moving and inspirational video on Oprah; the full lecture can be viewed on You Tube.