Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dying Professor's Final Lecture

Professor Randy Pausch gave his final lecture at Carnegie Mellon last week. He won't be back because he has pancreatic cancer and his doctors give him only a few more months to live. He knows that the end of his life will be painful and not pleasant, for himself and for those around him, but he's not a morose, depressed man, who wants to wallow in his hardship.

Instead, he decided to do what he does best -- talk to a roomful of students. A few days ago, he gave his final lecture, "How To Live Your Childood Dreams," reviewing some of the things he had wanted to do as a boy and how his life has been about connecting those dreams to reality.

He wanted to be in zero gravity. He wanted to play in the NFL. He wanted to be Captain Kirk. He wanted to be a Disney Imagineer.

Sure, he hit some obstacles along the way, but Pausch says, "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren't there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things."

In watching the video of his final lecture, you can see why Pausch was one of the most popular professors at Carnegie Mellon.

[thanks to John K for the link -- note that this runs over an hour, in 4 parts]