Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Here is an excerpt from a WSJ article “A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime“, [K: emphasis mine. original link via Gary M C Shiu]

They [400 students and colleagues] had come to see him [Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor] give what was billed as his “last lecture.” [K: You don’t need to know about computer to appreciate the talk as you will see.] This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted “Last Lecture Series,” in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? […]

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch’s speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living.

Here is a link to Prof. Pausch’s Last Lecture speech. What a fun and insightful speech by a great guy that will surely be missed by many many people. See Prof. Pausch’s web page for photos (don’t miss the sewing projects) and more personal and professional info.


Oct 23, 2007 Update:

Here are some other lectures Prof. Pausch has delivered and has posted online.

Here is a note from Prof. Pausch’s site about transcript of the video presentation, “You can get a transcript here. You may use this for non-commercial purposes without asking for permission.* A chinese translation done by Lichao Chen ( is here (thanks, Lichao!)”


25 July, 2008 Update: Randy passed away earlier today and I wrote this blog entry in this sad moment of time.


27 April, 2016 Update: //Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was remembered Sept. 22, 2008, at a memorial service held at Carnegie Mellon University. For more, visit //

3 Responses to Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

  1. Soubhagya Parija says:

    The lecture was very moving – it would have been so, even if it weren’t Prof. Pausch’s last lecture. I had a Professor named Walt Blacconierre, who taught us Accounting at the Indiana University Business School. He also succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer on March 4 this year when he had just turned 50. The similarities between Prof. Pausch and Walt just do not end in the same debilitating disease they both have been victim to. So much was the similarity in their world views that I could visualize Walt standing there and delivering the same exact speech that Prof. Pausch gave. I had thought I would never see another man so full of life as Walt until I watched Prof. Pausch deliver his last lecture. I guess great men think and behave alike. But why do they have to die the same way and so early? Also, do miracles not happen any more?

  2. kempton says:

    Hi Soubhagya,

    You are absolutely right that the lecture would have been great irrespective of the fact of it “last” nature. Seeing the life and energy that is still inside Prof. Pausch, I will not be one bit surprise if he keeps on giving lecture, doing research, sharing his wisdom, and be with his loved ones until the last moment. That is living a life as if every moments count which should be something that everyone should be doing, right?

    From what you described, it is wonderful to hear you had the good fortune to have Prof. Blacconierre taught you. The energy and wisdom of the likes of Prof. Pausch and Prof. Blacconierre are rare to come by. We count ourselves to be really lucky to be taught by great teachers, as they make a great difference in our lives.

    P.S. re: miracle. As Prof. Pausch said, he is receiving the best care available and I hope he can be with his families for as long as possible.

  3. […] honour of Randy’s Tigger personality, I like to revisit Randy’s The Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. (which I am re-watching for the nth time as I type […]

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