Randy Pausch

Most people do not really think of scientists as humans who live and die just like the rest of society. After all, the most common belief is that scientists hold the cure for everything and if they do not already have the cures, they are working on it for sure. However, there is one guy that has given scientist a human face and that is late Randy Pausch who was known for his intelligence first but will be forever remembered for his teachings in achieving dreams.


Who Is He?

Randy Pausch was one of the best known, Design, and Human Interaction at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. From 1988 to 1997 though, he was a teacher at the University of Virginia. Not only was he brilliant, but he was also an award winning teacher and a very well-known researcher who worked on various projects with Adobe, Google, EA, and Walt Disney just to name a few notable partnerships. He was also known to have pioneered the Alice Project which is one of the most successful non-profits out there. He and Don Marinelli co-founded The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon. He was indeed a wonderful human being but sadly, he lost a long fought battle with pancreatic cancer back in July 2008.

It is always sad to lose such a great mind to cancer but what makes his story even more profound is the way he said good-bye. His is a wonderful story that is worth sharing- not only will it bring you to tears but will teach you so many things about human perseverance and how it is to achieve one’s dreams.

Randy Pausch’s Legacy

Most people have given at least a moment’s thought about what their last words would be. For some, it would be nothing more than a few faltering last-minute instructions while others will think of ways they can still tell people off on their death bed. But this is not the case with Randy Pausch. He had bigger and better plans and he wanted to touch as many people as humanly possible.

Also, while most people would have chosen those paths for their “last words”, the late randy Pausch was not like most people since he had bigger and better plans. In September, he delivered a speech that elevated him from a previously unknown computer science expert to a virtual celebrity by way of his lecture to special students at Carnegie Mellon University. Now, such a speech might have otherwise been unrecorded had it been delivered a few years back but thanks to the powers of modern technology, his lecture was retained and spread so it could later be heard by millions of people whose lives it will and has changed. Not only has it touched individuals, but it has also worked its magic in American politics and is poised to become a publishing phenomenon.

His remarkable tale is known as “The Last Lecture” which is really just something of an academic conceit where teachers were asked to think how it would be like if they were near death and had to sum up all the wisdom they had acquired throughout the years so they can share it with their students. The catch is all the know must be summed up in the amount of time it would take to deliver a lecture.

Now this is where Pausch really stood out because the 47 year old father of 3 wasn’t just imagining when he gave students a final lecture. He had just been to the doctor and was positive for pancreatic cancer which meant his last lecture, really was to be his last. He was given an hour to deliver his last lecture and it was to a jam-packed lecture hall where he gave his moving speech about what it was to achieve childhood dreams. Despite the fact that his days were limited, he had a very optimistic outlook in life and his lecture was full of laughter but had more than its fair share of tears. In fact, people who were at the lecture said that it reminded them of a scene from The Dead Poets Society. Many people who have recently developed a love for public speaking say that is was a great reminder of how they should be living their lives.

People often have very strong and varied reactions when it comes to news of their impending demise but people everywhere have to admit that Randy Pausch handled it with grace and panache that is not always seen in cancer patients. To have come up with such a profound and heartfelt speech is something that not a lot of people would have the nerve to do but is something that he had the heart and presence of mind to accomplish.

The people who were there to witness the speech were lucky since they go to hold onto something of the man. Others who weren’t there missed the lecture of a lifetime but it is not like they can get in on some of his teachings and wise words. As mentioned earlier, his book is about to become a publishing success and should not be missed by people who have a deep love for stories of people losing to cancer but winning anyway.

The family and students of the late Randy Pausch are sure to miss him but they have the ultimate honor of being loved and taught by this remarkable man who took news of his impending death smoothly and used it to teach the world a thing or two about living. So you see science isn’t just about white lab coats and faceless and nameless geniuses trapped in labs. Sometimes, they are real life men who battle real life problems and lose only to come out the winner anyway. It is very rare to see such people but apparently, Randy Pausch is one of them and his legacy will be something to talk about for years and years more to come seeing as its impact is just that wonderful and that profound.