The Lecture of a Lifetime

A very stirring story last week in the Wall Street Journal, about a professor giving one of his final lectures. Here is how it starts:

Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.

He motioned to them to sit down. “Make me earn it,” he said.

They had come to see him give what was billed as his “last lecture.” 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.

Read the whole thing, with a (brief) video link, on the Impactiviti blog

UPDATE: when you’re done reading the initial story, here is a follow-up story, including a link to the FULL video of his speech.

3 Responses to The Lecture of a Lifetime

  1. Lewis Green says:

    This is an inspiring story, which I first saw yesterday on ABC news. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I read this in the Journal the other day. He’s about the same age I am, and it really sent chills down my spine.

    Very moving story.

  3. pROF bANERJEE says:

    simply superb

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