Friday, July 25, 2008

'Night, Randy. See You In The Morning.

Carnegie-Mellon professor Randy Pausch, famous for his contribution to Carnegie-Mellon's "Last Lecture" series, finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer this morning at his home in Virginia, nearly two years after he was given three to six months to live by his doctors. He was surrounded by his family and loved ones. He was 47.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, Pausch created the lecture as part of a series Carnegie-Mellon put together last fall, wherein college professors gave the lecture of their lives, speaking passionately on the topics that mattered most to them. Presumably, for most all of the other professors, the exercise was figurative. For Pausch, already a year past his original diagnosis of terminal cancer, however, it was all too real. (In what we writers like to call "irony," Carnegie-Mellon retitled the lecture series "Journeys." Pausch joked, "I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it.")

In the lecture that Pausch entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," the computer technology professor takes an unpreachy, earthy look at the world, human character, and relationships, and gives his opinions on how to overcome obstacles and get everything you want out of life.

Here's the entire lecture on YouTube, just so we can remember him as he lived. Bear in mind that everything he lists as a childhood dream, he accomplished, with the exception of playing for the NFL. He was even given a walk-on, one-line role in the new "Star Trek" movie, due out next summer. Equally poignant is his public service announcement for the Lustgarten Foundation, which funds and promotes research of pancreatic cancer. The latter includes clips of an interview with Pausch's wife, Jai, who might well be one of my top five picks for most desirable new best friend.

Randy is survived by Jai and their three young children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.

Peace, Randy. See you in the next lifetime.


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