I was watching the news on television last night and heard the newscaster saying that we would be watching a professor’s last lecture.
On Tuesday, September 18, 2007 a computer science professor named Randy Pausch, Ph.D, gave a lecture. Dr. Pausch is regarded as an expert teacher of video gamesand virtual reality technology. He helped develop the software used at Carnegie Mellon, a well-know Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania University, called Alice. It allows people to create 3-D animations. This is being used by students around the world. The lecture was titled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” http://cmu.edu/uls/journeys/
Dr. Pausch’s lecture was not the type that is normally given at Carnegie Mellon. Oftentimes at Carnegie Melon Professors are asked to give lectures about what matters to them and to give what is a fake final talk. Most of us ask ourselves what we would want our children to know if we were dying and may leave them a tape. Most of us ask ourselves what difference we made if not to the world at large then to our smaller world of family and friends. Most of us wonder what we would do if we knew we only had a few months to live. Dr. Pausch shared that unlike most of us he has achieved most of his dreams which include being in zero gravity, making video games, playing in the National Football League, and authoring an article in the World Book Encyclopedia. www.kansascity.com/news/nation/story/285914.html
In the case of Professor Pausch this was not an academic exercise. This is his life. A father of three and only 46-years old he was given a death sentence of a few months. He has pancreatic cancer. The news story I watched said that Professor Pausch wanted to do this of course for his students and himself but most importantly for his three young children.
He ended the lecture by giving his wife a cake for her birthday and telling the audience that his children would watch the video when they are older. Tears were wiped and another standing ovation ended Randy Pausch’s last lecture.
The Carnegie Mellon video page says a DVD of his lecture will be available.
The video showed a young, vibrant and handsome man who looked like anything but a dying man. In fact he did one-handed push ups. Interested in the story I watched the entire 1 hour and 44 minute video on line.
The Wall Street Journal called this “the lecture of a lifetime.” Professor Pausch spoke with Diane Sawyer after his talk.www.abcnews.com
Professor Paush’s last lecture can be seen at any of the referenced articles. He is an inspiration to us all.