Randy Pausch 1960-2008

Last LectureI have a sign on my computer that reads, “It is never too late to change what you might have been” – a quote from George Eliot. I also have one that says, “If you were waiting for a sign, this is it. Do it.” Every now and again I need a kick in the pants to remember that if I really, really want to do something, it’s up to me to get up off my duff and go get it.

Randy Pausch died early this morning, and the last year or two of his life, most notably his lecture and subsequent book, were a friendly and funny kick in the pants to millions of people. Our condolences to his family. And my thanks for the kick.

From the chapter he cut from the book, regarding the memorial footbridge that will be named after him which will connect the computer science building with the arts and drama building at CMU :

I’m a big believer in symbols as a way to communicate. The symbolism of this bridge is just amazing to me because I’ve spent my career trying to be a bridge. My goal was always to connect people from different disciplines, while helping them find their way over brick walls.

I am moved and pleased when I picture all the people who will one day cross that bridge: Jai, our kids, my former students and colleagues, and a lot of young people with somewhere to go.



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  1. 1
    Janicu says:

    This is sad news. I was wondering about him and checked his website yesterday; it was worrying that he hadn’t updated it in a month.  I really enjoyed listening to his last lecture.

  2. 2
    Cinde says:

    I saw this earlier and busted out crying. An amazing person, who left a legacy we could all use every single day.

  3. 3
    Gail Dayton says:

    My kids—okay, the daughter and son-in-law—are at CMU in grad school. The daughter is in an interdisciplinary program—a new one, involving statistics, psychology and education on how people actually learn, not the computers-arts one. Seems to me that there may be lots of interdisciplinary programs put together because Pausch put together two such unlikely things. He’s got quite a legacy.

  4. 4
    J.C. Wilder says:

    I just blogged about Randy, too. His lecture is amazing – run now to watch it and know that your life will never be the same.


  5. 5
    Susan/DC says:

    For a while in college Randy Pausch dated my sister’s roommate so she had a chance to meet him.  She said even back then he was a special guy.  The world is a better place for having known him and a sadder one now that he’s no longer here.

  6. 6
    ML Kramer says:

    Thank you for calling this to our attention. What a wonderful human being he was. The world is a better place for having him in it.

  7. 7
    Louisa says:

    R.I.P.  I read the transcript of the last lecture he had given at CMU last fall-it was very inspiring-the type of lecture that makes me feel that the whole world has dropped away from under my feet.  I had wondered about him from time to time since then.  I am glad that he managed to live twice the amount of time that the doctors had given him.

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