Remembering Randy

-Randy Pausch Inspired Millions-

Randy Pausch, the professor at Carnegie Mellon University who inspired countless students in the classroom and others worldwide through his highly acclaimed Last Lecture, has died of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

Also a Carnegie Mellon alumnus, Pausch co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center and led researchers who created Alice, a revolutionary way to teach computer programming. He was widely respected in academic circles for a unique interdisciplinary approach, bringing together artists, dramatists and designers to break new ground by working in collaboration with computer scientists.

Outside the classroom, he gained public fame for delivering what would come to be known as “The Last Lecture.” On Sept. 18, 2007, only a month after doctors told him that he had three-to-six months to live following a recurrence of pancreatic cancer, he presented a lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” to a packed auditorium at Carnegie Mellon.

The moving and often humorous talk recounted his efforts to achieve such childhood dreams as becoming a professional football player, experiencing zero gravity and developing Disney World attractions. In the process, he shared his insights on finding the good in other people, working hard to overcome obstacles and living generously.

Read the rest of the article on Carnegie Mellon homepage stories HERE.

I have the book. I remember almost leaving it at the cashier counter when the staff there mentioned that her friend had told her ‘people were saying it was like the new kind of The Secret,” because I figured I didn’t need another one of those ‘attract it and it will come‘ manuals.

I got to reading it after a few weeks. What I remember most is how he gave new life to the cliche ‘running into the the brick wall. He said, “The brick walls are there for a reason. Right? The brick walls are not there to keep us out, the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough,” Think about that. How many brick walls have we faced? What did we do when we run into one? How many times have WE become brick walls ourselves?

How many times have we had the opportunity – no – seek the opportunity – to make a difference? To have a positive impact through our work, through whatever we do? In delivering service, what kind of experience do we create? While working together with our team, with our clients, heck – while being with our family and friends too for that matter.

Now that’s something to think about. I’ll return to this soon.

In the meantime; goodbye, Professor Pausch. Thank you for a great class.


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