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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I’ve used my unexpected fame: Last Lecture of Prof. Randy Pausch

Carnegie Mellon Prof. Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and was invited to give a last lecture. It is now widely available on the Web.

After I gave my lecture in September, I expected to go home and quietly spend time with my family. I never imagined that my talk would be viewed online by millions worldwide. The response has overwhelmed and moved me. Thousand of people have written to me about their life lessons. I've also been buoyed by former students who've told me how my teaching made a difference to them. There's no greater gift for a teacher.

I've used my unexpected fame to advocate for pancreatic cancer research. Last month, I testified before Congress to seek funding for my disease, which is considered the deadliest of cancers.

I've had great fun too. In my lecture, I told of two childhood dreams: playing in the NFL and being Captain Kirk on Star Trek. Strangers fulfilled those wishes. I was invited to scrimmage with the Pittsburgh Steelers and got to say a line in a new Star Trek film. Both experiences were thrilling.

I'm lucky to be living longer than I expected, allowing me more time with my kids. I've tried to do unforgettable things with them – such as swimming with dolphins – so they'll have concrete memories of us and of my love for them.

I am honored that my lecture will live on and that people have found it beneficial. Honestly, though, the talk was for my kids, and it gives me comfort to know that they will one day watch it.

Advice: Say your most essential messages before it's too late.

Browse for related stories in the index at the very bottom of this page, or see a video of his moving congressional testimony last month.

Thanks to the writers of Parade Magazine for the source article in their April 6 issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video (ted.com) has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.