Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and, in a longstanding tradition at Carnegie Mellon, gave a last lecture to friends and students. The lecture was recorded and placed on YouTube, where it spread and received over 10 million viewings before being made into a best-selling book.
The lecture, given in September 2007, was entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" and covered the steps necessary for people to ake control of their lives and live up to the goals they set early on.
"The brick walls are there for a reason,” he said.
“The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"
After the lecture became such a hit Pausch was offered other opportunities to fulfil his childhood ambitions, including appearing on the new Star Trek movie and playing football with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pausch co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), which brought together artists and computer scientists to develop more realistic virtual reality environments.
He also had sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA) and worked with Google on interface design.
The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) awarded him the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award and the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education.
‘Last Lecture’ Randy Pausch professor dies
By Iain Thomson on Jul 26, 2008 1:18PM