Randy Pausch was a computer scientist who taught the “Building Virtual Worlds” course for ten years at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University from 1997 to 2007.
He is best remembered for his inspirational lecture about achieving your dreams and his book, co-authored with Jeffrey Zaslow, based on his 2007 lecture became an international best seller.
Who Is He?
Born on 23 October 1960 in Baltimore, Maryland Randolph Frederick Pausch attended Oakland Mills High School in Columbia and graduated with a degree in computer science from Brown University, Rhode Island in 1982.
Continuing his education he obtained a doctorate in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1988.
From 1988 to 1997, he was assistant and associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. He took time out from his professorship to work for Walt Disney and Electronic Arts.
Randy Pausch was one of the best known, Design, and Human Interaction at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, joining them in 1997. 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. Together with Don Marinelli, he co-founded The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon in 1998.
He taught the “Building Virtual Worlds” course for ten years that involved student’s development of virtual realities. With this course Pausch developed a software program called “Alice- The Infinitely Scalable Dream Factory” which allowed children to make movies and games and learn basic computer programming while having fun.
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.
In September 2007, he delivered a speech that elevated him from a previously unknown computer science expert to a virtual celebrity by way of his lecture to selected students at Carnegie Mellon University. Not only did it touch individuals, but it has also worked its magic in American politics and became a publishing phenomenon.
His remarkable lecture, known as “The Last Lecture” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” to 400 colleagues and students. The previous month he had visited the doctor and was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He received a standing ovation for his hour long lecture, where he gave a moving speech about achieving childhood dreams. Even though 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. Those attending the lecture said it was an amazing reminder of how they should be living their lives.
His farewell lecture has been watched by millions of individuals on You Tube and gave inspiration to many to look optimistically on their lives.
In 2008 Time magazine named Pausch one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and ABC declared him one of its three “persons of the year” for 2007.
His book “The Last Lecture” co-authored with Jeffrey Zaslow, based on his 2007 lecture became an international best seller.
Personal and Death
He married Jai Glasgow in 2000 and they had three children together, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe. Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008 aged 47.