Randy Pausch, Innovative Computer Scientist at Carnegie Mellon,Who Gained Worldwide Acclaim for Last Lecture Has Died

PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2008 Randy Pausch, renowned computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, died July 25 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 47 (b:10/23/60). Celebrated in his field for co-founding the pioneering Entertainment Technology Center and for creating the innovative educational software tool known as “Alice,” Pausch earned his greatest worldwide fame for his inspirational “Last Lecture.” “Good teaching is always a performance, but what Randy did was in a class all by itself,” Pausch joined the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science faculty in 1997 with appointments in the Computer Science Department, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the School of Design. He soon launched an interdisciplinary course, called Building Virtual Worlds, in which student teams designed interactive animations. The results were so spectacular that roommates, friends and even parents of the students would attend class on days when projects were presented.

That life-affirming lecture, a call to his students and colleagues to go on without him and do great things, was delivered at Carnegie Mellon on Sept. 18, 2007, a few weeks after Pausch learned he had just months to live. Titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” the humorous and heartfelt talk was video taped, and unexpectedly spread around the world via the Internet. Tens of millions of people have since viewed video footage of it.

He will be sadly missed.

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5 Responses to Randy Pausch, Innovative Computer Scientist at Carnegie Mellon,Who Gained Worldwide Acclaim for Last Lecture Has Died

  1. zygosporangia says:

    Wow. That makes me sad. I enjoyed watching his lectures. 🙁

  2. S.Scott says:

    Here’s the lecture.

  3. BobH says:

    My wonderful little sister Theresa lost her battle with cancer in ’04. Like her, Randy Pausch kept a weblog of his journey once he was diagnosed. Also like her, he died at 47, and similarly left a loving spouse and three young kids behind.

    I followed his blog with a personal interest, and was greatly inspired not only by his “last lecture”, but by his wonderful gift of a positive attitude and of his positive outlook on life that he documented and shared with all of us.

    That damned cancer sure does seem to take the good ones.

    I wish I had known him.

    I wish you could have known Theresa.

  4. MaryB says:

    So Sorry Bob. I just watched the lecture and cried at the end. What a spirit!

  5. James F says:

    Bob, I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

    This reminds me of a scientific collaborator of mine, Ernie Peralta, who died of cancer at 40, shortly after getting tenure at Harvard. Wonderful guy, another one of the good ones lost far too soon.

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