25 July 2008

The Last Lecture: The Light Carries On

It is with sad news that I report Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. That, sadly, in itself is not life-altering news for most of us...we all know someone, or been someone, who has been afflicted by this horrible disease. Some will win the war, but unfortunately so many more will be lost. Unfortunately, we have lost the Professor.

Ultimately we all pass on, but some seem to know how to enjoy it a bit more, wake up and embrace it a bit more. Each day here is a gift, but honestly how many of us truly appreciate it as such? I know I am not alone when I say I too often take it for granted, and I am ashamed to admit as such. Especially on a day such as this, when I am reminded just how great we humans can be, just how grateful we should be for just waking up and having yet another chance to improve ourselves.

Professor Pausch gave a lecture in a series called "The Last Lecture" series. The series was to encourage the professors of Carnegie Mellon to write and deliver their 'last lectures' to an audience seeking their wisdom for the 'final' time. Specifically, what would their last lecture be, and what would they want their audiences to leave with? Professor Pausch gave one that will make your heart glow and your love of life renew...it was simply called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". It is, arguably, the very best lecture a student...a person...a human...could ever hope to hear. (It has since been transcribed and developed into a best-selling book.) This lecture will make your spirit soar, but will also make your tears fall. It is worth every minute of viewing...do not rush it, do not watch it in parts, but do take in its feeling and its meaning because it does apply to all of us.

And it will also make you appreciate just how much a void we now all have with Professor Pausch's death. Rest in peace, Professor, and thanks for the wisdom. Your many students, thousands upon thousands you never met, thank you...and we will carry your love of life with us.

Introductions done, I give you Professor Pausch and The Last Lecture...

Professor Randy Pausch delivering "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", September 2007, Carnegie Mellon University. Video from YouTube.

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