Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Lecture’ Professor Randy Pausch, 47, Dies

From The New York Times:

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon computer science professor whose last lecture became an Internet sensation and bestselling book, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 47.
Randy Pausch with Dylan, Logan and Chloe.
Dr. Pausch, whose proudest professional achievement was creating a free computer programming tool for children called Alice, was an improbable celebrity. A self-professed nerd, he pushed his students to create virtual reality projects, celebrated the joy of amusement parks and even spent a brief stint as a Disney “Imagineer.'’
Last September, Dr. Pausch unexpectedly stepped on an international stage when he addressed a crowd of about 400 faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon as part of the school’s “Last Lecture” series. In the talks, professors typically talk about issues that matter most to them. Dr. Pausch opened his talk with the news that he had terminal cancer and proceeded to deliver an uplifting, funny talk about his own childhood dreams and how to help his children and others achieve their own goals in life. He learned he had pancreatic cancer in September, 2006.

Sitting in the audience was Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jeff Zaslow, a columnist with The Wall Street Journal, who wrote about the speech. Media outlets and bloggers linked to the story, and more than 10 million people have since watched an Internet video of the talk. The lecture was translated into seven languages, and Hyperion published a book version that became a New York Times bestseller.

For the full NYT story link here.
For my earlier comment on The Last Lecture link here.
R.I.P. Randy.

Further comment:
In a statement, Pausch's co-author, Jeff Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist, said, "Randy had a remarkable ability to reach into his own life and find an anecdote, a funny story, an uplifting memory--and then translate it in ways that resonated deeply with the rest of us. I first saw him move and inspire 400 people at his last lecture. It was astonishing to then watch his message leave that room and touch millions worldwide. As his co-author, it was a great honor to see his love of life from a front-row seat. I'll miss him."

His wife, Jai Pausch, said, "I'd like to thank the millions of people who have offered their love, prayers and support. Randy was so happy and proud that the lecture and book inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children. The outpouring of cards and emails really sustained him."

The family has requested that donations on Pausch's behalf go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245 or to Carnegie Mellon's Randy Pausch Memorial Fund.

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