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Thank you, Dr. Randy Pausch

I want to thank Dr. Randy Pausch for recording his Last Lecture so that it can viewed by millions, or rather, so it can inspire millions. Dr. Pausch died yesterday, July 25th, with his pancreatic cancer having the final say.

CrunchGear brought me the sad news while I was searching for something else.

I don’t remember how I learned about the video of Dr. Pausch’s lecture, now called the Childhood Dreams lecture. I remember thinking that I didn’t have time to watch a video that was over an hour long. I was just going to look at the first few minutes….

An hour and a half later, I was forwarding that video link to friends.

To say that the lecture is inspirational is an understatement. Carnegie-Mellon had the concept of a lecture series where professors gave a lecture as though it was the last one they would ever give. They were called the “Last Lecture”, but then they changed the name to “Journeys”. At the beginning of Dr. Pausch’s speech, he complains about this. He tells the audience how he is dying, so the last lecture title is perfect for him – and then they go and change the name! The audience laughs, as they do throughout the lecture. The lecture is fun and entertaining – and all the time, we are learning. That lecture had the power to keep us alert the entire time. I’d call that mighty powerful communication.

Please. Watch the video. Be inspired.

I close with a quote from Dr. Pausch’s page at Carnegie-Mellon where you can see how he used communication actively in his battle with his cancer. (As a faithful Carleton College alum and as the daughter of a schoolteacher, I’d add that the last sentence could be adjusted to “send your kids to a great school”. 🙂 )

I am flattered and embarassed by all the recent attention to my “Last Lecture.” I am told that, including abridged versions, over six million people have viewed the lecture online. The lecture really was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful. But rest assured; I’m hardly unique. Send your kids to Carnegie Mellon and the other professors here will teach them valuable life lessons long after I’m gone.

— Randy