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Drop Everything And Read

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
by

Emily Thomas

on 7 September 2011

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Transcript of Drop Everything And Read

Who is Randy Pausch? Randy Pausch was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1988 to 1997, he taught at the University of Virginia. He was an award-winning teacher and researcher, and worked with Adobe, Google, Electronic Arts (EA), and Walt Disney Imagineering, and pioneered the non-profit Alice project. (Alice is an innovative 3-D environment that teaches programming to young people via storytelling and interactive game-playing.) He also co-founded The Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon with Don Marinelli. (ETC is the premier professional graduate program for interactive entertainment as it is applies across a variety of fields.)
Why is Randy's story so important? Pausch learned that he had pancreatic cancer in September 2006, and in August 2007 he was given a terminal diagnosis: "3 to 6 months of good health left". He gave an upbeat lecture titled "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon, which became a popular YouTube video and led to other media appearances. He then co-authored a book called The Last Lecture on the same theme, which became a New York Times best-seller.

Pausch died of complications from pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.

Think about this as you leave today...

Randy almost didn’t go to Pittsburgh to deliver his last lecture. His wife Jai had wanted him to stay
home with her and the kids. What did you learn from his discussions with her about this?

Randy chose “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” as the topic for his lecture. In what
ways would this allow him to tell the story of his life, and to enable the dreams of others? ng() As we read The Last Lecture together this school year, think about the following questions:

Why has this lecture/book struck a chord with so many people?
Where is the speaker/author “coming from”?
What are my childhood dreams? How might I achieve them?
What were the dreams my parents had and how did they fulfill them?
Who are mentors I can turn to? What lessons have they taught me?
And what wisdom would I choose to impart to the world if it was my last chance?
What are the lessons of my own life? Carnegie Mellon
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