Archive for July 22nd, 2013

‘The Last Lecture’ represents one professor’s legacy for his children

July 22, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
July 22, 2013

In 2006, a computer science professor named Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an especially deadly disease. The married father of three learned about a year after he first fell ill that the tumors had metastasized. He was told that he had only a few months of good health remaining.

While he was in treatment, Pausch was invited by his university, Carnegie Mellon, to give a lecture. He took advantage of the occasion to tell a packed auditorium about how he had lived his life. The talk, which was titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” was implicitly aimed at his three young children, who would grow up without him.

The presentation became known as “The Last Lecture.” That’s also the title of a book that Pausch co-wrote with journalist Jeffrey Zaslow. The volume was published in April 2008, about three months before Pausch succumbed to cancer.

I approached The Last Lecture knowing the general background behind it. Somewhat to my surprise, the book isn’t a transcript of the talk, although a few specific moments from the Sept. 18, 2007, lecture are described in detail. Instead, this is a memoir that delves into different episodes that informed the presentation.  Read the rest of this entry »

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