April 10, 2008

The Last Lecture

Back in September, my father-in-law introduced me to a lecture given by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. There is an academic tradition called the "last lecture" in which a professor is invited to speak as if it's the last lecture he'll ever give. For Randy Pausch, this was truly his last lecture.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and has not been given very long to live, his prognosis was very poor. His last lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, was inspirational and everyone should really watch the original lecture, it is 76 minutes long but well worth it. Click here to download the full length lecture on the CMU website or it can also be found on YouTube. I watched the entire original lecture totally mesmerized by his words and his message. I can't say that about many lectures. There are several shorter versions found on the Internet, such as the YouTube video above and he has a website with many of them posted. He has been getting a lot of press, he was on Oprah and he was interviewed last night by Diane Sawyer in an ABC New special. He also has a book that will be published soon.

The lecture was not only about achieving your childhood dreams but also about how to live your life. Although his lecture has gained so much popularity and inspired so many people, he had only intended his words for his 3 young children. It was meant for them to watch when they were older and better able to understand his words and message. You can see in his face and in through his words how much he loves his children and adores his wife. I watched that entire lecture with so much emotion. It touched me so much and truly inspired me. What a truly amazing man.

He is fighting the horrible disease with various treatments to slow the progression of the cancer, but his health is slowly deteriorating. He makes regular updates on his website.


  1. Wow.

    Thanks for sharing that.

    *wiping away tears*

  2. Truly inspirational. I saw him on Oprah, while I was at the gym.
    Needless to say, I was bawling on the treadmill.

  3. Thanks for highlighting this horrible disease, Sher! We really need to get the word out on such underfunded and underrepresented diseases, such as Pancreatic Cancer.

    My heart goes out to Randy and his family, as well as to all families that have been touched by cancer.